Challenges for Augmented Reality glasses to go mainstream

Kumar Ahir
Jan 6 · 2 min read

According to Abrash, AR glasses may substitute smartphones in 2030–2040

Michael Abrash, Oculus R&D Chief scientist, is of an opinion that AR glasses will get into the mainstream probably in 5–10 years. However, it will take a decade or 2 to get to as good as sunglasses and substitute them.

We need many technological disruptions for this, and in the meanwhile, the most probable approach is that AR glasses will complement the features of smartphones without substituting them. — Michael Abrash

  • Social acceptance — The form factor of the current set of AR/MR glasses is such that a layman will often get offended by the wearer. The current shape always makes it look as if the conversation is happening via a device and the machine is looking at you and not human.
  • Ergonomics — If the wearer can’t wear it for more than an hour, they are probably not going to be used. To go mainstream, it needs to be as simple, lightweight and style as sunglasses. Period.
  • AI and BCI (Brain-computer interface) — AR glasses aren’t just meant to be worn inside hi-tech labs. Mainstream means public. And in public places voice interface isn’t suitable. Imagine everybody mumbling on the road. Gestures are tiresome, remember Gorilla arm syndrome? And controllers can work inside the room not outside. So there needs to be a way so that glasses are aware of users' intentions. Maybe BCI is the answer. And that answers the acquisition of Ctrl+Labs by Facebook.
  • User Experience (UX) — The content for AR needs to be designed considering the spatial aspect of the medium. My sketchnote talks a little bit about this. Fidelity, Realism, and Immersion will drive the success of the content in AR.

Kumar Ahir is an independent consultant working in the field of Immersive Technologies, Product Design, Design Leadership, and Strategy. He is evangelizing Design for Immersive Technologies and UX by actively doing workshops on Design Thinking, Design for AR and VR, Prototyping for Mixed Reality technologies.

He aims to create a better Design Ecosystem for Immersive Technologies.

Know more about him at, LinkedIn and Twitter

Data Driven Investor

from confusion to clarity, not insanity

Kumar Ahir

Written by

successful exit in first startup, AR VR enthusiast, ex CISCO, SYMANTEC, interaction designer, entrepreneur. More at

Data Driven Investor

from confusion to clarity, not insanity

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