We have seen smart glasses come and go, but burnt to our memory is Google’s Glass. There is no denying that it was an ambitious project by Google. It started off as an experiment that showed a lot of promise but ended up raising more eyebrows over things like privacy issues. Then there was Snap Spectacles, a novelty funded by parent company Snapchat. Unfortunately, even with a $40 million investment, Spectacles did not catch on. Since then we have witnessed other companies bravely throwing their hat into the ring, and among them is Focals by North.
North, once called Thalmic Labs, is a startup that has introduced to us, custom-built world glasses with a display that only you can see. “At North, we’re building a future where technology is human-centric, discreetly built into fundamental parts of our lives that already exist”, believes the startup company.
“At North, we’re building a future where technology is human-centric, discreetly built into fundamental parts of our lives that already exist.”
Committed to building a future where “technology is there when you need it and gone when you don’t,” North’s Focals have been designed to allow the wearer to get instant access to the people and information they want when they need too. “We believe that the relationship between people and technology shouldn’t be an “either, or” — it should be a powerful partnership because together they are much greater than either one alone,” states their website.
Looking to make technology fit seamlessly into our everyday lives, Focals’ main features include intuitive navigation in your line of sight, so you can get where you need to go, without missing anything along the way. Not forgetting built-in Alexa, which allows the wearer to Ask Alexa to play music, hear the news, see the weather, control your smart home and more. For those who like the idea of information at their fingertips, you can also check the time and date, your calendar reminders, view weather, or pause it all with do not disturb.
When it comes to function meets form, North proudly built all the ingredients for Focals from scratch. It took five years for the company to come up with glasses that would not look out of place in a “professional’s busy personal life”. Integrated with technology within the silhouette of a traditional eyewear frame, users can access technology when they need it, and when they don’t, the technology is hidden by design.
Some of our favourite features are how users can effortlessly interact with Focals using Loop, a 4-directional joystick that can also be pressed to click, allowing you to communicate without lifting your hand. Also, we appreciate how Focals allows for discreet and glanceable access to the right information at the right time – giving the user control without pulling you away.
Custom-made for your face, Focals go for $999 each and come in tortoise-shell, grey, or black. You can choose from an angular Classic or the elegant Round style. Both styles come with lenses custom made by North. Included in the price is a case that has a built-in battery that provides multiple charges while also keeping Focals safe at home or on the go. The only catch is that to make them custom made you need to get fitted at a North Showroom in Brooklyn or Toronto, opening in November 2018. Reserve your pair with a $100.00 deposit, the rest of the balance can be paid upon order completion at a North Showroom.