When Google Glass launched, the potential of smart glasses seemed limitless. Five years later, that promise has been dashed. Today’s smart glasses are clunky and awkward, with limited functionality and a distinct lack of style.
But what if we could design smart frames, instead of smart glasses? Frames are far more customizable and fashionable than their glassy counterparts. In fact, for many people frames are a fashion statement in themselves. If we can pack all of the same technology into a frame, we can get all the benefits of smart glasses without compromising on looks or comfort.
It’s time to move from glasses to frames.
Google Glass is clearly a smart product, but it was never really meant for the consumer market. The truth is that consumers don’t want smart glasses. They want smart frames.
Glass can be turned into a viable consumer product by combining it with a frame. And the frame doesn’t just have to be a frame, it can also be a lens, which gives you an opportunity to add functionality that is useful to both Google and consumers.
Let’s explore some of these possibilities:
Google can use this opportunity to sell prescription lenses (which they already do with Glass) as well as sunglasses (which they don’t). They could even create their own line of frames/sunglasses so they’re not dependent on fashion-conscious partners like Warby Parker and Luxottica.
By adding lenses to their product offering, Google can now provide eyecare services such as eye exams and contact lenses (something they have no experience in). They could partner with existing eyecare providers or go the route of Warby Parker and build their own network of shops where people can get eye exams and try on glasses at no cost (other than the cost of purchasing them).
Google could also offer its own line of lens treatments for vision correction purposes such as astigmatism or pres
Google Glass is a computer you wear on your face, in the form of a pair of eyeglasses. The prototype looks pretty ugly, with a chunky frame and a screen above the right eye. A computer this un-svelte raises some interesting questions. Is there any way to make a wearable computer that’s both more capable and better-looking?
If we think of Google Glass as an early prototype for wearable computing, we can perhaps make it better by first asking: what are some different ways to do wearable computing? While the notion of “computing” has been around for about seventy years, the notion of “wearable computing” is just over twenty. If we want to get beyond the idea that worn computers have to look like glasses, where else can we look?
I would suggest three different models: contact lenses, smart watches, and smart frames.
This year we can expect to see the first generation of smart glasses from Google, Vuzix, and Epson. With a computer and display built into the frame, they will project information in front of the wearer’s eyes to provide directions, information about surrounding buildings, maybe even ads.
But having a computer strapped to your face is a strange and unfamiliar idea; it could take years for this kind of product to become mainstream.
Smart frames are different. They’re simple eyeglasses that integrate with phones via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. And there’s no need for head-mounted displays or optical tricks–it all happens on your phone screen.
Google Glass was a great idea, but Google failed to make an interesting product. It was too expensive and too fragile. And it looked terrible. It made everyone around you think you were an asshole, even when you weren’t acting like one.
The problem with smart glasses wasn’t the hardware; it was the form factor. When you’re wearing glasses, your face is already taken. If a lens could project information onto your retina, like in a sci-fi movie, that would be great. But otherwise you have to put the information somewhere else: either on some bulky component at the top of the frame or on a tiny screen somewhere in the corner of your field of vision. And neither place is very good for seeing things.
The solution is obvious: get rid of the glasses part. Put all the smart stuff in the frame, which can then wrap around to hook onto your ear. Make them Bluetooth headphones with a little screen attached. Then they don’t look stupid, they don’t block your view, they don’t interfere with normal glasses (since there are no lenses), and they only cover half your face (the bottom half). They would be much less expensive than normal smart glasses because you wouldn’t need lenses or any fancy processing hardware beyond what’s required
It’s only a matter of time until we no longer need mobile phones. This is not because the technology for mobile phones will go away, but because it will all be integrated into our glasses.
Currently, there are two ways to get information from the internet: desktop and mobile. There is a third coming, and it is glasses. The first phase of this will be Google Glass, which is currently in development by Google X. It is a semi-secret laboratory within Google that works on futuristic projects like self-driving cars and delivery drones.
Google Glass is an attempt to integrate what we do with our phones into the real world. Instead of pulling out your phone to take a picture or check a Tweet, you can simply use your voice or a gesture to perform actions with your glasses.
The future won’t stop at Google Glass, though. As you can see in the video above, the glasses are still big and clunky, with only one function right now: taking pictures. Eventually, we’ll reach the point where the entire frame will be made up of nothing but a display and some sensors. At that point, you won’t even need frames anymore – just a thin strip on your face with display capabilities.
A smart glasses product is in the works, but it will be a few years before we can make one that’s ready for consumers. It will include a new display system and a new input system that allows you to use your fingers to interact with the display and access all of the information stored on the internet just by moving your hand.
We’re also working on a product called “Project Glass” that will be available to developers in the second half of 2012 (see video below). It will have similar functionality as our current glasses, but with additional features like a digital compass and accelerometer. In addition, developers will be able to use it as an accessory for their smart phones and tablets.