2Google Glass: When Less Can Be More
Google introduced smartglasses to the mainstream (even if the mainstream couldn’t buy them) with Glass. Glass offers an augmented reality experience and can perform a variety of tasks when prompted by voice. But it costs $1,500, and it’s very obvious. So much so that Google recently offered users some etiquette tips for wearing them.
Epiphany Eyewear for now makes a single style of smartglasses in the mold of Ray-Ban Wayfarers. They can be worn with clear lenses, prescription lenses or sunglasses. The camera is located just above the wearer’s right eye. When the camera is recording, a blue light blinks—a privacy gesture intended for those around the wearer, so there’s no question about whether or when the glasses are recording.
4No Learning Curve
To begin and stop recording, users press the logo on the frames’ arm. According to Cory Grenier, Epiphany’s director of marketing and sales, the Epiphany glasses feature a 160-degree, wide-angle lens that “allows you to capture what you’re actually viewing.” Other smartglasses, including Glass, he said, offer nearer to a 75-degree viewing angle.
5True Tech Accessory
6Much to Be Said for Discretion
A company called Pivothead makes comparably priced glasses ($269) that feature a 1080p HD camera between the wearer’s eyes. While it’s easy to imagine someone wearing these to film a run down a ski hill, or maybe for field service uses such as documenting deliveries, it’s harder to imagine them easily slotting into the mainstream and being worn by young women for fun or fashion.
8Rugged, Enterprise Applications
XOEye Technologies makes wearable devices for blue-collar industries and has a handful of prototype smartglasses. Gartner Research Director Angela McIntyre says camera-focuses smartglasses (without augmented reality) are being piloted in areas such as training, field sales, field service, inspections, manufacturing and warehousing.
9Back It Up
Neil Mawston, executive director of Strategy Analytics’ Global Wireless Practice, says Epiphany may be a bit early to a market that’s only slowly coming together, but that there is an opportunity—given that 1 billion people in the world wear glasses, contact lenses, goggles or sunglasses. Below, Katie Couric tried out some Epiphany Eyewear smartglasses on her television show.