Seeing the Future for Smart Glasses
The advent of wireless, wearable technology – from smart watches to Bluetooth headphones – has increased public interest for other accessory-based gadgets. Eyewear is part of the line-up, but unlike Fitbits and AirPods, the industry has had a rocky start. Nevertheless, like Apple CEO Tim Cook, the Casper & Casper team is optimistic about the future of smart glasses, whether they are meant for Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) or to simply enhance everyday experiences with improved functionalities.
Sneak a peek at the following tech that caught our eye.
VUZIX BLADE & M-SERIES
International company Vuzix is leading the charge in eyewear tech by designing, manufacturing, marketing and selling head-mounted displays (HMDs), including VR, AR and smart glasses. Their most recent addition in the smart glasses line-up is the Vuzix Blade, priced at $999.99 USD, which integrates simple features and capabilities. Paired with the companion app for smartphones, Vuzix Blade can take photos and videos, and can have an array of uses that suit different lifestyles: for active users, it can provide directions, forecasts and activity tracking; for businesses, the untethered WiFi and Bluetooth interfaces allow for real-time, hands-free viewing of necessary information and instructions. All lenses come with UV protection and offer full-colour displays.
Vuzix also advertises the business-oriented M-Series Smart Glasses, coming as either the M300XL ($1499.99 USD) or M300 ($999.99 USD). At the moment, the glasses are currently applicable in the manufacturing industry and come either as a mounted frame or with lenses of their own.
North introduces its Focals product to eliminate the geeky, bulky design of most VR/AR headwear and smart glasses, consequently maintaining both function and form. Two voice protocols link Focals to text messages and Amazon’s Alexa. Mostly, Focals can be used as a simple way of viewing notifications and navigational directions without having to look down at a smartphone, as it is connected via Bluetooth. It also comes with a tiny, directional joystick fitted on a ring called The Loop, allowing the user to interact with the display. They are designed to look like normal glasses and can either be prescriptive or non-prescriptive, which may be a smart, inconspicuous way of staying connected and on-the-go.
Each Focals pair, priced at a minimum of $599 USD, is custom-fitted at sites in Brooklyn, Toronto or mobile pop-ups.
VUE SMART GLASSES
Albeit receiving criticism for delayed production and shipping, Vue has provided consistent updates and are responsive to their backers on Kickstarter. The smart glasses maintain its unique capabilities by providing an auditory experience alongside its primary visual purpose. Like the Focals, Vue’s smart glasses are inconspicuous, stylish and customisable, and like Vuzix, include other functionalities such as activity tracking. Paired with the smartphone, Vue enables the user to access its capabilities through a touch interface embedded along the glasses’ arm length. Most notably, however, are the bone-conduction speakers outfitted within the frame, delivering audio from music, calls and notifications via inner-ear vibrations. The open-ear design keeps the user connected and figuratively plugged in without disrupting daily life. At the moment, it is still possible to back the project on Kickstarter.
Smart glasses are the latest in wearable technology and, at the moment, they have a long way to go before it can be as normalised as smart watches, fitness trackers and Bluetooth headphones. 2019, however, has proven to be a year of innovation and revolution, and Casper & Casper are eager to have an enhanced visual experience of the world through the technological shift of the eyewear industry.