‘If fashion won’t come to WearableTech, WearableTech must come to fashion’ is what the visionaries in the design department of VSP Global must have thought when Google made their catwalk debut during New York’s Fashion Week back in September 2012 with the Google Glass. Google teamed up with Diane Von Furstenberg, only to realize that to add beauty and style to the head mounted wearable tech device, it might take a little more than a price psychology shuffle($1500 upon release) for the conspicuous gadget to end up being considered a fashionable wearable product.Project Genesis
This spring Project Genesis was born. VSP Global introduced a new pair of prototype glasses, that some might argue actually look like a classic pair of Ray Ban glasses, that is until one takes a moment to look at them a little more closely. Now here’s the trick. What they did was grab a pair of stylish glasses from the brand Dragon Alliance, owned by VSP Global through Marchon Eyewear, and then seamlessly added a circuit board in the left ‘temple’, also known as the arm. And packed it with the latest health-tracking sensors.
They have managed to seamlessly build in a accelerometer for measuring acceleration forces, movement and vibrations. Plus a gyroscope, which measures or maintains orientation and a magnetometer, to measure magnetic field strength and direction. These tracking health metrics also measure calories burned, steps taken, heart-rate, activity-time, posture, gait and the distance the wearer has travelled. The gathered information is then interpreted via bluetooth by an accompanying Android app. The biggest advantage of the prototype glasses is that the arm is only slightly bigger than an average pair of glasses, so therefore no one would be able to tell that the shades or glasses you are wearing are fully tech-packed.
Currently in its beta-testing phase, it will be a while before the glasses are available for release but we are already mentally queuing up to try out this promising product. Jay Sales, who is the innovation strategist and co-lead of The Shop on the west coast campus in Sacramento, California. Who stated: “We believe it’s the first stab into providing a deeper or richer level of context, through a device that a large portion of our members utilize every day and thats through a pair of glasses. We have taken what you see on the market today (Google glass) we put that into a frame that doesn’t stand out on your face”
Leslie Muller, VP of Marchon Eyewear Design and a co-leader at the shop on the east-coast, is on a mission. With VSP Global already serving 75 million customers, Muller plans “to integrate technology seamlessly into what we are already wearing”. CEO of VSP Global Rob Lynch adds: “With an understanding of a rapidly changing marketplace and increased expectations from our clients and members, The SHOP’s purpose is to drive technological advancements that are helping to shape tomorrow’s optical industry.”
Having read up on this innovative device, it is not hard to imagine that they might be able to make a bullseye in the wearable tech market. Their success will be down to the fact that their 26 man strong team have added (activity tracking) what was needed to their eyewear prototype and ditched (Camera) what didn’t work, basically making the glasses a fashionable version of Google Glass with empathy.