Farm 16th August 2023: AR glasses demo and dev chat

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Rokid AR glasses, which look like black rimmed dark glasses, sitting on a picnic table

On the 16th of August we had our freelancers networking meet in the beer garden of the Battle of Trafalgar. 16 people came in all.

Here is some of what we talked about:

  • Freelancing work levels
  • Taiwan
  • Wanting both change and no change
  • Getting your head around programming in Rust
  • Sketch-a-Sketch AI drawing app
  • Rokid AR glasses demo with phone and computer
  • Using XML and XSLT for speedy serving of pages
  • WordPress taking over the world
  • Upgrading Laravel
  • Why does Laravel’s version number go up so fast?
  • What would you build for AR glasses?
  • Family holidays in old cars
  • Balancing freelancing and parenting
  • Am I unemployable in a full time job now?
  • Old fashioned fixing computers using info from books


Rokid AR glasses demo

Hazlitt brought along his new gadget, and very intriguing it is too. A pair of Rokid AR glasses. They can plug into Android phones or a computer and project a screen in front of your eyes. He was kind enough to give me a full demo.

The “screen” is equivalent to a 1080P monitor, which is decent for lots of tasks, and bright enough to see in daylight – there is an add-on provided to black out the glasses so the screen will still be usable in very bright sunlight. In the pub garden at dusk I had no problem at all seeing the screen “through” the glasses. I’m short sighted and couldn’t wear the Rokid pair over my glasses, but they have adjusters on them which allowed me to get everything in focus, which I was surprised by as I thought my astigmatism would defeat them.

It’s amazing what a phone can do. Intellectually, I know my phone is a much, much faster computer than the ones I used to use for my work, but actually using a Samsung phone with the Rokid glasses and getting a desktop and usable apps felt revelatory. It can be used two different ways with phones, one system requires a Samsung, but I can’t remember the details. The other way is available using any Android phone, or an iPhone with a large adaptor to get the right signal from it.

I also used them with Hazlitt’s small gaming laptop and they were very usable for that too. I was awful at the game, so I didn’t put them through their paces to any great extent, but I’m sure they’d be more than good enough for some gaming on the go, such as on the bus or a flight. They are certainly good enough for office type work.

As they are augmented reality, you can see around the sides of the screen to what’s going on around you, or apparently dim the picture enough to see through them, although I didn’t try that. If you pair a Bluetooth keyboard with your phone, you can look down at the keys through the glasses if you need to, it is like having a monitor in front of you, it doesn’t fill your whole field of view.

Using them was a glimpse into a possible near future – out of town for a meeting and need to get some work done? Plug the glasses into your phone and get all your email and light office work done in a cafe, without being overlooked. Long flight? Load up your laptop with some videos or games and get completely immersed. Coming in at about a tenth of the expected price of an Apple Vision Pro, these are something you can buy and use right now for practical work.

Big thanks to Hazlitt for showing us all his new toy!