Most of us run the DJI app on a tablet or Smartphone to control our Phantom Drones. Lately, you’ve probably seen the goggles as well. These let you see what your drone is seeing – and have the benefit of being immersive – but they cover your whole face.
There is a new contender in this arena, one that has a pretty great idea. Their idea is glasses that allow you to see your drone (and your surroundings) but also let you see the display of the app running your drone at the same time. It is like a “heads-up display” for your car but now for your drone. Enter the Moverio BT-300 Smart Glasses for DJI Drones made by Epson.
Wait, what?… Epson? What are they doing here? Don’t they make printers? How is it that they are making glasses for drones?
It turns out that Epson does a lot more than just make printers. They are apparently involved in all sorts of technology. In fact, they boast being top 10 in the number of patents added most years. In that regard, they have a division called Moverio which has been making projection eyewear for several years. They have been working with DJI to create the latest iteration of glasses for drones.
Seeing what your drone sees
Here’s how it works. Instead of running the DJI app on your tablet or phone, you run it through the glasses. You receive a small black unit that you attach to your controller with clips. It looks like this on my Phantom 4 Pro controller.
Now you will be standing there controlling your drone with your DJI controller, the same as always. But instead of looking down at a tablet, you are looking up (or wherever you want) through the glasses. You will see the usual DJI app display projected in front of you, and at the same time, you can see what is going on around you.
Perhaps even more importantly, you can see your drone. You can either look over the glasses (they are pretty narrow, which allows you to do this) or you can just focus on your surroundings rather than the app display.
So how do you control the app? With the little black controller. You run your finger along it and it moves the cursor on your display. That way you can change settings, take pictures, etc., the same as you do with the DJI app on your tablet.
You still control the drone with the sticks on the controller. You are just running the app with the Moverio unit.
Obviously, you’ll be flying your drone during the day. So what do you do when you are flying on those really bright, sunny days? The Moverio comes with sunglasses of sorts to solve that.
There is an extra dark shade that you clip over the front of the glasses. This cuts down on the light dramatically and allows you to see the app display just fine even on bright sunny days.
What about if you wear regular glasses? These are made to fit over top. You can also clip prescription lenses over the glasses if you want.
Getting used to using the Moverio BT-300FPV Smart Glasses
When it comes to these glasses, you’ll have to overcome a few things. The first is the price. These things will set you back almost $800. That’s more than some drones. Still, there is a lot of tech in these things so I cannot say it isn’t worth it.
The second challenge is getting used to using them. That actually isn’t too bad though. After flying with them just a few times, I was pretty comfortable. I don’t wear glasses, so I suspect others who do will have an easier time.
Finally, you’ll probably find that controlling the app is a little harder with the glasses than using the touchscreen on your tablet. As noted, you have to move the cursor by moving your finger across the black control unit. I can think of no better way for them to handle this, but it just isn’t quite as easy as using a touchscreen.
Benefits of wearing drone smart glasses
Once you get used to them, however, these Moverio BT-300FPV Smart Glasses help you in some significant ways.
First of all, you can see your screen in bright light. One of the challenges with flying drones is seeing your tablet’s screen in direct sunlight. That’s no problem with these glasses since you aren’t using a screen. Further, the sunglass attachment makes an incredible difference. I was flying on a very bright sunny day and could see the screen just fine. In my mind, this is a huge advantage of these glasses over other alternatives.
The next thing is that these glasses helps you frame your shots a bit better. They are similar to goggles in that regard. That just makes sense, since you are looking into the scene rather than looking down at your tablet.
Finally, I should note one significant advantage of these glasses over the DJI immersive goggles. Remember that you are supposed to keep your drone in direct eyesight at all times. Of course, regulations will vary by country, but every set of regulations I have seen has included this requirement. If you have goggles on, seeing your drone while it is flying is impossible. To stay legal while wearing goggles, you’ll need another person with you to act as a spotter. With these glasses, however, you can do both at the same time.
I should mention one other thing as well. While I just used these glasses to run the DJI Go app, you can run other apps on them as well. One notable app is Netflix, so you can watch TV and movies through them. So that’s a nice little bonus feature!
It seems like we’ve been hearing about the coming of “wearable tech” for some time now. I haven’t seen a lot of examples that impressed me, however, these glasses are different. They work really well and actually improve the drone flying experience. I give these smart glasses 4.5/5 stars and the only reason I’m not buying a pair, and didn’t give them 5/5, is the price.
The biggest difference to me was on bright, sunny days, where they made seeing the screen easy when it would have been normally very difficult. I also really like setting up my shots by seeing them in front of me as opposed to looking down at a screen. So if you are looking to take your drone experience up a notch, definitely consider the Epson Moverio BT-300FPV Smart Glasses for DJI Drones.