Tech Trends for 2017: Smart glasses

Through the looking glass: Augmented reality and secret snapping. Smart eye wear is bringing the future into sharp focus….

Although the development of smart eye wear has been in the pipeline for a long time, with the recent release of Snap’s Spectacles (pictured) and Epson’s Moverio you can be assured that smart glasses will be moving into the mainstream in 2017.

In the past, smart glasses have only worked as a front end display for a remote system but newer versions are essentially computers that you can wear on your face.

Since the launch of Google Glass in 2013, manufacturers have been racing to create new smart glasses to compete with Google and have effectively built products that can be integrated into the fabric of our everyday lives.

Today, the range of smart glasses on the market have more functionality then ever before; some offer the ability to take pictures and videos while allowing users to tap into augmented reality (AR) apps to watch 3D and HD content on the go. This means that directions and tips can be projected in front of your eyes.

How it works

Snap Inc., formerly known as Snapchat, launched Spectacles earlier this year with a mission to bring smart eyewear into the mainstream. The glasses were created to help users create lasting memories from their own perspective by enabling users to take videos through the camera lenses located at the top of the glasses frame, while the wires are hidden away in the thick frames.

Snap Inc.:“We’ve created one of the smallest wireless video cameras in the world, capable of taking a day’s worth of Snaps on a single charge, and we integrated it seamlessly into a fun pair of sunglasses – available in three different colors.

“Spectacles connect directly to Snapchat via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and transfer your ‘Memories’ directly into the app in our brand new circular video format.”

Constructed to record memories, Snap’s vision for Spectacles is that they will be use to record some of the most intimate moments of our lives but there have been some reports of users using the glasses to record amateur porn with their partners. This raises more serious questions about how much smart eyewear could impact our privacy, and whether the devices are secure.

Nevertheless, in 2017 Spectacles could be the next big thing. While Snapchat already has over 100 million glasses, it’s likely that its glasses will attract a big fan base – particularly as the £100 price tag is far more affordable than that of other smart glasses on the market.

Epson has also entered the smart glasses space with its futuristic Moverio BT-200. The see-through smart glasses have a built in gyroscope, GPS and sensors that can understand your surroundings. The design is said to make it possible to see directions in front of you, and works with apps in your smartphone to integrate technology into real life.

The Moverio smart glasses are geared towards professionals in the engineering, medical and construction industries and aim to make their jobs more efficient and safer by allowing workers to get data in their field of vision.

Given Snap and Epson’s activity in the smart glasses space, the famous tag line ‘Should have gone to Specsavers’ could very well evolve to become ‘Should have got smart glasses’!

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