Is Smart Eyewear Still The Likely Replacement of The Smartphone?

There is no denying that the smart glasses market is ripe for embracing a new wave of products designed to encourage the adoption of the new normal, wearable tech that looks no different from ordinary specs.

I must admit, that as a writer of all things fashion tech, I have been quietly watching the evolution of smart glasses. So earlier this year, when Mike Elgan stated, “Sorry, consumers, smart glasses are for professional use only …(so) don’t try this at home”, I wondered whether Elgan had a point. Are smart glasses destined to only have value for businesses and not consumers? I can see why he argues this point because there has been a rise in the adoption of this type of technology in multiple areas like healthcare, automotive, gaming and retail, but I like to think that it is a space that is also on the brink of finding a home in the consumer market.

Eyewear

Defined as wearable computers, smart glasses were valued at $3.65 million in 2016, and they are expected to reach $63,650 million by 2025. Currently, top key players of the smart glasses market are Kopin Corp., Microsoft Corp., Optinvent, Seiko Epson Corp, and Luzix Corp. With the future looking bright, it has been reported that major players like Google, Facebook, Samsung, Microsoft and Amazon are investing in AR hardware and R&D. A few years ago, Apple was reported to have been ‘secretly working on Google-style AR goggles’. Now three years later, we are still waiting with bated breath for the tech giant’s wearable device that will blend an augmented reality display with a standard pair of glasses.

It is a trend that is seeing AR and VR technologies, becoming a strong driving factor in the smart glasses market. Workwise, they promise to enhance business workflows and operations. Consumer wise we are seeing startups launching products consumers didn’t know they were hungry for. Liberating your hands and triggering the growth of the smart eyewear market, are smartglasses destined to change our daily interaction with technology?

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At this moment, the main challenge is shrinking optical and electrical hardware into AR glasses. Only a few models on the market today have managed to achieve this look of ‘normal’ eyeglasses. So to the early adopters who have been demanding AR products with the kind of capabilities that could replace our existing dependence on smartphones, here are two brands that you should think about investing in. 

Norm, Glasses With A Microcomputer Built into Them

Having successfully concluded their Kickstarter campaign for their Augmented Reality (AR) Smart Glasses, Human Capable’s Norm Glasses look like ordinary specs hence why they grabbed my attention with their stylish design. Looking like regular glasses the smart specs have been engineered for comfort, functionality, and style. The everyday AR glasses are equipped with a wearable mini-computer that runs on an Android-based operating system. The technology is voice-activated and features dual speakers, open-ear sound and a head-up display (HUD).

Norm Glasses

“For smart glasses to reach a critical mass of adoption, they must do more than add functional value to our daily lives, they must also be comfortable, lightweight, and stylish while doing so,” said Human Capable founder Charles Sun. “We have worked very hard to achieve this in our design of Norm Glasses.”

Promising to be the lightest among all smart glasses, Norm Glasses allows users to wear and interact with the glasses comfortably. The good news is that Norm Glasses are embedded discreetly inside the lightweight frames, including CPU, memory, storage, battery, speakers, microphones, camera, and an optical system which displays digital information in the user’s field of view. The design concept is such that wearers will not be able to tell their frames have a microcomputer built into them. 

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The GLOW Series, Moving MR From Novelty to Necessity

MAD Gaze is an award-winning AR smart glasses brand founded in 2013. The company’s objective is to accelerate the world’s adoption of AR by offering highly innovative and economical AR smart glasses. A Hong Kong based business, MAD Gaze, launched a GLOW series of mixed reality (MR) glasses on 2nd September 2019. Touted as being the lightest of their smart binocular glasses, at 75g, the plug-and-play have a mixed reality interface that will allow users to play AR games at First-person view (FPV), watch widescreen movies, answer phone calls, and receive app notifications including compatibility with social media platforms. 

The company has identified that AR is quickly moving from novelty to necessity. It is a change that is in line with their vision to offer their innovation to professional fields, general consumer market and the global developer community. Their mission is to unveil an experience that offers unlimited possibilities.

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The intelligent specs allow users to stay connected with voice calls, instant messages and P2P platforms. Watch movies and play games with a 45° FOV in 720p resolution (53° FOV combined light guide on GLOW Plus). Battery life is not an issue, if you want to check out the latest blockbuster or binge-watching a new series. The brightness of MAD Gaze’s optical displays can be adjusted to suit different environments. GLOW is designed to fit your interpupillary distance (IPD) to avoid fatigue or nausea. Also, GLOW’s 5MP RGB camera makes taking pictures and video a handsfree experience. 

After two successful Kickstarter campaigns, MAD Gaze is launching the GLOW series at a discounted price. Instead of paying MSRP $529 you can grab a pair for $369. Looking to change our daily interaction with technology MAD Gaze believes MR glasses should allow you to live your smartphone life in the real world.

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