This Futuristic Laptop Replaces Your Screen with a Pair of Glasses
Sightful's SpaceTop is "the world's first augmented reality laptop."
The Quest Pro might be Meta’s current best case for working in mixed reality, but for anyone who’s attached to the laptop form factor (well, half of it), Sightful might have just the thing for you. Their new “Spacetop” strips out the display of a traditional laptop and replaces it with a dedicated connection to a pair of modified Nreal AR glasses.
The laptop combines one of the more promising pitches of augmented and mixed reality devices — the possibility of an endless number of infinitely large displays — with a traditional keyboard and input method many are likely not comfortable giving up. But is strapping a keyboard to AR glasses going to make anyone more comfortable working virtually?
The Spacetop, even this “Early Access” version Sightful is showing off now, is pretty self-explanatory. On what would be the bottom part or base of the laptop, there’s a traditional keyboard and trackpad, but as your reach where the hinge and display would be, it ends in a dedicated slot for those Nreal glasses and what looks like a Leap Motion camera for tracking your head and acting as a webcam.
Sightful says the device runs Spacetop OS, which appears to be a web-focused operating system that can run on Spacetop’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, a system-on-a-chip usually used in smartphones. The laptop ships with 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and two USB-C ports for charging or other data connections. And yet, despite its missing display, it still manages to weigh a normal laptop weight of 3.3 pounds.
On paper, pulling up dozens of private displays for work at a coffee shop is appealing. You could have a home office setup on the go! But that dream hits the limits of reality fairly quickly. You’ll look weird wearing glasses, which is something some people will have to get over, and it sounds like this early version of the Spacetop has its own hardware limitations too.
Even though the company promises the possibility of a 100-inch display, “the actual field of view is small enough that you usually can’t see the full 100-inch space at a time,” reports The Verge’s Monica Chin. “Instead, you’re looking through a smaller viewing window...and you need to move your head around in order to see the areas you need to see.”
This is the unfortunate reality of augmented reality hardware in 2023, from the Nreal to enterprise products like the Magic Leap and HoloLens. No one has quite cracked how to display AR imagery over the entire field of view of the average person. If you can get over that, maybe the Sightful Spacetop is the futuristic laptop for you. But it’s a major catch to what Sightful co-founder Tamir Berliner is describing as “a significant paradigm shift in a device we all know and love.”
Price and Release Date
Sightful hasn’t shared the final pricing for the Spacetop, but its initial run of laptops will be very limited. Sightful is opening the Spacetop Early Access program to only “1,000 early adopters,” and you can sign up now to be considered on Sightful’s website.