High Tech Glasses
Few people associate eyeglasses with cutting-edge innovations, but high tech glasses are popping up everywhere. These smart frames read notifications, play music and videos, record video, control smart devices and more.
Facebook and Luxottica teamed up to create these stylish, myopia-friendly smart glasses that work like headphones and leave your hands free. Swipes control the volume, taps take and end calls and a button captures photos and videos.
1. Bose Frames
Unlike the tech that’s revolutionized phones and computers, smart glasses have mostly struggled to impress. Many attempts, including Google Glass and Snapchat Spectacles, have focused on cramming too many features into a small package.
The $200 Bose Frames have a simpler goal: to make it easy and comfortable to listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks on the go while wearing sunglasses. A pair of Bose Frames look like regular sunglasses from the front, and you can swap in different pairs of lenses to let in varying amounts of sunlight.
When you’re wearing Bose Frames, you can use voice commands through Assistant to play or pause music, take calls, change the volume and switch tracks. The tiny button on the right arm can also control music — click once to start playing, double-click to skip a track and triple-click to rewind. You can also turn off the glasses by holding down the button for two seconds or flipping them upside down.
The most impressive feature on Bose’s Frames is their noise-canceling design. They have a speaker on the front of each lens that is tuned ar prescription glasses to direct sound toward your ears, and it cancels out the ambient sounds around you. This makes listening to music, podcasts or audiobooks a quiet and private affair. And if someone calls you, the Bose Frames will give you an alert and automatically mute your phone.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who live in the moment, and those who want to capture it. With the Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses, you can do both. Rather than having to stop what you’re doing and dig through your bag for a camera, you can simply press a button on the glasses and snap a picture or video. The glasses will also record audio, which is useful if you’re out hiking or at a concert.
The glasses are designed to look like regular Ray-Ban frames, and you can choose from three styles: Wayfarer(opens in a new tab), Round(opens in a new tab) and Meteor(opens in a new tab). Lenses ar prescription glasses include sun, prescription, polarized and gradient options, as well as clear. I tested the black Wayfarer model with clear lenses, and they were comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
The glasses have dual 5MP cameras built into them, as well as microphones and speakers. They can be paired with a smartphone via Bluetooth, and when connected they act just like a pair of wireless headphones. This functionality allows you to listen to music or podcasts, make phone calls and even take hands-free selfies. Facebook and Ray-Ban say the glasses are meant to be a “momentary photo and video capture device” that’s easy to use.
3. Amazon Echo Frames
Amazon Echo Frames make a strong case for smart glasses, offering the benefits of wireless headphones and a smartwatch in an accessory many people wear every day. They also have the advantage of delivering notifications without needing to be pointed at your phone. But if you’re looking for the best smart sunglasses to buy, the Amazon Echo Frames fall just short of greatness.
In our test of the Echo Frames, we found them to be comfortable to wear with no irritation or slipping, and they fit a wide variety of faces. The only drawback is that they don’t do a very good job of hiding the fact that they have tech stowaways inside. The rounded frames and narrow rims look like a pair of reading glasses you might try on in the CVS checkout line. The thicker temples, which hold the batteries and speakers, are another giveaway.
The frames are available in Quartz Gray, Pacific Blue and Modern Tortoise, and a prescription-ready version is also available. The clear frames come with blue light filtering lenses, and you can take them to an eyewear professional to have them fitted for your prescription. They’re also eligible for out-of-network insurance reimbursement from providers including VSP and Eye Med. The frames can play music, answer questions and set timers, and you can choose a default voice to use for hands-free Alexa interaction. They can also receive notification alerts and hands-free calls from your phone.
4. Google Glass
Google Glass looks like something out of a sci-fi film. But this high tech eyewear actually exists, and it takes mobile computing into the future. Instead of pulling out your smartphone to send a text message or get directions, these glasses let you do it hands-free through a small display on your lens.
The Google Glass display is a field sequential color liquid crystal on silicon (FSCLCoS) LCD screen, and it occupies about 5% of your field of vision. The device is controlled through voice recognition. It responds to commands that it can understand, including navigation and information applications such as Wikipedia (Strickland, 2014).
While the glasses are expensive, they can be a lifesaver in certain situations. For example, some people use them to communicate with co-workers in the factory floor or to guide patients during surgery. In addition to helping people do their jobs, these glasses can improve quality and efficiency by making it easier for workers to see what they are doing.
However, there are also many privacy concerns with Google Glass. The glasses have a camera and can record video, which can be accessed by others without their consent. It can also be used to stalk people or take pictures of them in private places. Privacy advocates are calling for Google to add more privacy features to these smart glasses.