The main goal of eyeglasses has been to achieve 20/20 vision for generations. But as 2023 approaches, internet innovators and eyeglass manufacturers are collaborating to upgrade even our one-trick ponies' eyewear. What the heck are smart glasses, anyway? Simply defined, they represent an effort to integrate wireless networking and images into the frames and lenses of our eyewear, just as we do with our home computers and smartphones. Soon, our eyeglasses and even our contact lenses might offer the same versatility and connection that we can no longer envision life without a laptop or mobile phone. It was definitely eye-opening. In an effort to capitalize on the success of smart watches and other wearable wireless gadgets, Google was the first to introduce this new vision of eyewear in 2013 with the release of Google Glass Explorer. Sadly, the Explorer turned out to be too nerdy, uncomfortable, and pricey ($1,500) for the majority, which led Google to remove it from the market after 18 months. However, Google Glass established a solid smart eyewear paradigm that other tech companies would soon improve. How Google Glass inserted intelligence into smart eyewear is as follows:
- Sound: On the end of the ear rest is where the speaker for wireless audio inputs and cellular reception is located (s). As opposed to air conduction through the auditory canal, bone conduction transmits sound to the ear.
- Smarts: On the arm of one of the ear rests is where the central processing unit (CPU) computer brain is located.
- Mic: The microphone for hands-free voice searches and cellular communications is wedged under one hinge. The majority of modern smart glasses combine a microphone and a miniature speaker for aural feedback, notifications, and the ability to play music and listen to podcasts.
- Projector and Prism: This projection technique, also known as a curved mirror or curved mirror combiner, is placed over the upper portion of the lens and allows for partially transparent digital displays without obstructing the view of the outside world. Waveguide holographic optics is an alternative product that some manufacturers are currently offering. The key to the smart glasses experience is the digital overlay of text and images that appears in our field of vision.
- Camera: The camera lens on the Google Glasses' temple was an obvious addition in the selfie era, but it also introduced an unforeseen new experience: privacy worries. Being essentially recorded and saved without their consent upset many witnesses, which may have accelerated Explorer's departure. A few companies, like Focals by North and Vue, now offer camera-less variants even though many clever manufacturers have scaled down camera lenses to fit discretely inside the frames of their goods.
The different ways you may operate smart glasses are possibly even more fascinating than the visual overlays. Instead of using the keyboard and mouse we're all used to, we can operate smart glasses by touching, tapping, or swiping controls built into the frame, speaking commands to Alexa and Siri, and/or controlling their displays through our phone or wearable technology like the hand ring from Focals by North. In addition, gesture recognition of head, eye, and hand movements like nodding or gazing up or down, directing via eye tracking, and even controlling our glasses with our thoughts are options offered to manufacturers of smart glasses.
The obvious aesthetic benefit of any glasses—better vision—has not been ignored by developers either. Controlling the quantity of ambient light in their natural surroundings also helps users maximize the visual overlays of their smart glasses. Several models feature liquid crystal technology integrated to enable users to filter the level of brightness coming through their smart lenses. The development of brightness filtering over photochromic or transitional lenses could eliminate the need for sunglasses.