The general public still considers smart glasses quite a new and futuristic device. However, innovation in the smart glasses industry is ongoing. It is highly likely that this high-tech device will soon be seeing its more popular days. Indeed, smart glasses are part of a futuristic world of tech-enabled gadgets, both fun and practical.
So, what are smart glasses?
The term smart glasses has a broad definition. This article will discuss several models which have, at minimum, a Bluetooth connection. Many of the smart glasses on the market do, however, include more than just a Bluetooth connection feature. There is a wide range of options from integrated microphones, integrated cameras that capture both pictures and videos to small on-screen displays. The smart glasses market is both diverse, exciting, and interesting.
The most advanced glasses boast an overlay of information straight onto the glasses’ screen in front of your eyes. The information projected directly to your retina will make you feel like a secretive undercover agent. These augmented reality (AR) features are very different from those found in simple Bluetooth glasses. The AR information is invisible to others and can accompany you in the most basic activities. This adds a whole new connected dimension to your life without interrupting you in the slightest. Some smarter models go as far as to measure brain activity!
There are several different options, depending on the type of gadget you are after. You will quickly realize that different environments will benefit from different models. Some are designed for a working environment, while others are suited for day-to-day wear. Some are bulky, and others very slim. Specific models even double up as smart sunglasses. However, they continue to become smarter, lighter, and sleeker as technology progresses.
As we previously mentioned, all models we discuss in this article have smart audio features. Often, this feature uses open-ear audio technology- a term that is still obscure to some.
So, what exactly is open-ear audio?
Unlike earphones or headphones, the beauty of open-ear audio is that sound diffuses to your ear without covering or blocking them. This is done through the strategic placement of tiny speakers. These deliver sound close to the ear canal but not in it. This makes the sound audible to the person wearing the open-ear audio device but not to anyone else. Some open ear audio technologies also make use of bone conduction. With this technology, audio vibrations are sent directly through the bones of your inner ear.
To give you a better idea of what options are on the market, this article brings together a few of our top smart glasses. It ranges from the most basic to the most futuristic models- so keep reading!
1-Amazon Echo Frames 2nd Generation: the best digital assistant
Amazon’s Echo Frames are the first pair of glasses to mention. At first glance, it is impossible to guess that these glasses are more than just normal glasses. They are discreet and designed to be lightweight. This means you would never guess their extra capabilities. However, these smart glasses will pair with your smartphone and become a true extension to your device. These smart glasses have many functional features by reading out notifications, playing audio sounds such as music and podcasts, and enabling you to place calls.
This model by Amazon also conveniently connects to Alexa. By connecting the smart glasses to your smartphone via Bluetooth, you will easily access your virtual assistant. By calling ‘Alexa,’ you will activate the built-in microphones. You can then easily ask for your favorite song to be queued up next. Like many smart glasses, these Amazon Frames use the previously described open-ear audio technology, using the tiny built-in microphones integrated into the frame.
Unlike some of the more developed models, these smart glasses are not considered augmented reality (AR) glasses. There isn’t any on-screen projection, and there is no visual aspect to the glasses. Instead, it is a purely smart audio device. It will make you feel like the important reminders you need throughout the day are being whispered straight into your ear.
2-Snap – Spectacles AR (4th Generation): the best smart glasses for video
The fourth generation of Snapchat’s smart glasses brings the AR experience to life. This newest model is a big upgrade on Snap’s previous smart glasses. Those did little more than video recording in a Snapchat-friendly format. These newer smart glasses include a holographic feature that projects virtual images in front of the wearer’s eyes. They also have surprisingly high-quality HD cameras, which can record videos to a quality of 60fps. The four embedded microphones produce an audio quality that is just as good. This allows for all-around great content creation. The top corners of the frame house the lenses on these smart glasses. They are discrete but have a large filming angle. Indeed, they allow for a spectacular three-dimensional capturing capability.
Naturally, these glasses are designed to encourage content creators to post via the Snapchat platform. When connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth, the spectacles allow you to upload directly to the Snapchat app. Another feature specific to these smart glasses is the integration of AR lenses. This allows you to create, design, and share your lenses directly to Snapchat.
These fun spectacles come in black or rose gold. They have a funky, fashionable design. They also come with a quick-charge case, which will efficiently charge them up to 50% in just 15 minutes.
3-Vuzix Blade M400
This third pair is on the more expensive and more developed end. These smart glasses are tailored for the working environment. These glasses drive high levels of efficiency through a wide array of features that will be described in a short moment. They are part of Vuzix’s longevity series, sturdy and resistant to just about any harsh working conditions. They are also available as prescription glasses, something still unique in the AR glasses market.
The AR capabilities, paired with integrated speakers, triple noise-canceling microphones, and a strikingly good camera, really put this model at the top of the list. The Waveguide technology allows for the overlay of digital graphics right in front of the user’s eyes. Thanks to the transparent display, both the real world and the AR features can be seen at once. The Vuzix Blade also includes head motion tracking technology. It responds to your movements in real-time and allows for a fully immersive AR experience.
These glasses are so ideal for the workplace thanks to their ability to connect directly to the tools you are already using. Microsoft Teams, Webex, or Zoom are all easily accessible. Not only this, but the sturdy frames of these smart glasses are very well adapted for fieldwork. They come with a headband fixture, helmet mounts, and double-up as safety glasses. This makes them an integral part of your personal protective equipment. Moreover, they will work in an environment as cold as -20 ºC or as hot as 45 ºC, without any issues. They tolerate a humidity level of up to 95%, making them highly resistant. They also include integrated barcode scanning capabilities and a LED flash for scene illumination.
4- Bose Frames Alto: the original audio enabled sunglasses
This fourth pair by Bose is unique. In fact, it is a pair of smart sunglasses. As do the others, this pair uses open ear audio technology. This frees you from earphones or headphones. You will remain aware of your surroundings while still enjoying an immersive music experience. They benefit from a clever acoustic package that sits around the temple to reduce the spread of noise emitted drastically. These smart glasses also have an embedded microphone system. This allows you to pick up calls easily and always hand-free.
These glasses have got plastic lenses and are not polarised. The width of each lens is 52mm, and the frames come in two shapes: round and square. Each full charge will allow you to play music for 3,5hours straight, which admittedly is not as long as some of the other smart glasses on the market. The sunglasses themselves do, however, block out 99% of UV rays and will always remain useful.
5- Google Glass Explorer: a futuristic design
Lastly, we bring you the extra sleek Google Glass Explorer smart glasses. The prototype of these glasses was designed in 2013. Since then, they have undergone many upgrades. Created by Google to be a ubiquitous worn computer, it comprises of all the smart features.
Glass is made of a continuous titanium band. It boasts a simple and futuristic-looking design. You may think it comes straight out of a sci-fi book! These smart glasses have got all the top technology features as well as a practical voice command feature. Just say ‘Okay Glass’ to wake up the smart glasses and begin with your commands. From taking a picture, recording a video, or asking Google a question-there are many options. The answer to simple questions will be displayed on Glass’ AR lenses right before your eyes, overlayed with your environment.
As well as this, Glass benefits from a clever touchpad on the side of its frame. You can scroll back and forth between widgets. As you do so, weather, calls, or gallery will appear on the AR screen before you. A slightly different version of Glass, called Glass Enterprise, also exists. This second version is specifically tailored to businesses. In this model, extra features such as barcode scanning are added. This enables for rapid pick and pack activities, a feature already in use at several companies. For example, DHL is one of the businesses which has tested and tried the Glass Enterprise. The company reported a quickened and more seamless process thanks to employees’ utilization of the smart glasses.
What to pick?
As you will now know, there exists a variety of options. Determining the planned usage of your smart glasses is key. Will these be a daily tool to accompany you in your workday? Or perhaps you only are interested in the music playing function? In such a case, you maybe do not require all the other functionalities. Will you be making use of the camera a lot?
Answering all these questions will guide you in picking the model best suited to your expectations. Do not forget the gap in prices between the more basic models and top-end models. Indeed, there is quite a substantial jump. Therefore, determining your budget is also a key part of the decision-making process, as these smart glasses can go from a few hundred pounds to almost two thousand.
While your looking at the latest smart technology, check out the newest smart clothing from Whoop.
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Last Updated on November 1, 2021