Smart glasses, a wearable tech, have the potential to become as common as smartphones. Naturally, consumers are excited about the technology. The recent 2021 release of Facebook-supported Ray-Ban smart glasses has further piqued the public’s curiosity. You might be wondering what the buzz is about and if you should get your hands on a pair of smart glasses. We will try to explain aspects of this emerging tech so you can quench your curiosity.
The first big buzz around smart glasses happened in 2013 when Google started selling prototypes of Google Glass. Unfortunately, it was not a successful product, and Google stopped production in 2015. But the association between Google Glass and smart glasses is still strong. So, when smart glasses are mentioned, people generally assume the inclusion of augmented reality (AR).
Even though including augmented reality is the ultimate objective, smart glasses can be AR-less. The Ray-Ban smart glasses do not include AR technology. Ray-Ban and Facebook intend to incorporate augmented reality in the future versions of the product.
We should probably explain augmented reality (AR) and the significance of including it in smart glasses. Augmented reality technology helps create an interactive experience where you can overlay digital objects on top of the real world. The Pokemon Go mobile game is a famous example of augmented reality. AR technology is exciting because it brings the physical and digital world together. It has the potential to inspire exciting applications.
Let’s take the example of retail price tags. Today when a business changes the retail price of merchandise during a sale, they have to retag all the products. The buyers have to look at the price tag to find the new price. Augmented reality can make it possible that retailers can change the price of products online, and buyers can look at the product through smart glasses and see the digital version of the price pop up. Imagine walking through a grocery store lane and seeing the product prices on the shelves without picking them up. It can be an interesting application of augmented reality.
But implementation of augmented reality into smart glasses is still challenging due to hardware limitations. Putting powerful processors, memory, and battery into the dainty frame of eyewear requires more improvements in technology to make smart glasses affordable.
The good news is that the tech industry considers AR-based smart glasses a big game-changer. The Ray-Ban smart glass release is only the first step. More versions are coming in the future. Other big tech players are also heavily investing in smart glasses. Here are some examples:
- Microsoft has smart glasses called HoloLens and Magic Leap has Magic Leap 2, but at around $3K USD price point, these smart glasses are intended for industrial use.
- Google has brought back Google Glass for around $1K , but it is still only used by enterprises.
- Amazon sells Echo Frames for around $250, allowing communication with Alexa.
- Meta/Facebook’s Ray-Ban Stories glasses are priced at about $300.
- Snap has released Spectacle with limited AR capabilities for about $400.
- Apple is working on smart glasses that are expected to hit the market around 2025.
Facebook’s Ray-Ban Stories glasses are attractive even without AR capabilities. The main objective of the glasses is to make sharing pictures, video, and audio more accessible.
Here are some key features of Ray-Ban smart glasses:
Frame Options: Ray-Ban smart glasses come in 28 styles, colors, and lens variations. The glasses are available in Wayfarer, Round, and Meteor styles.
Facebook Companion App and Security: The Ray-Ban smart glasses can connect to smartphones through the Facebook View App. The app is available on iOS and Android. As a security feature, the smart glass automatically deletes data in memory if someone tries to connect the glass to a new smartphone.
Dual Cameras: The dual 5MP cameras reside on the frame. Users can use the one-touch capture button on the earpiece stem to take pictures and record videos. The storage can hold up to 30+ videos and 500+ photos at high resolution.
Audio: Open-ear speakers on the earpiece stem provide clear audio output, and three built-in microphones work as input devices for audio recordings.
Transition Lenses and UV Protection: Transition lenses seamlessly adapt to light conditions and provide UV protection.
Smart glasses are in the early days of development. As smart glass technology matures and augmented reality becomes a standard option in the devices, we can expect smart glasses to become more popular. It might even replace smartphones and become the de facto wearable tech of the future.