Smart Glasses are Making a Comeback

The catastrophic failure of the Google Glass smart glasses a couple of years ago was inevitable. From an aesthetically unappealing design to buggy, confusing technology to privacy concerns to its exorbitant price at $1500. But most of all, it lacked a clear purpose, aside from a couple of niche uses. This product decimated any hype for smart glasses at the time and is now known as one of the most notorious failed products of all time. This product category remained relatively empty for a few years, the Glass’ failure discouraging many. Until now.

   North Inc., formerly Thalmic Labs, introduced their take on smart glasses recently. Called Focals, these smart glasses are trying to be everything the Google Glass wasn’t, and more. With an emphasis on creating an unobtrusive, appealing design first and foremost, these Alexa-powered glasses may be the first pair of smart glasses people will actually want to wear. The device uses a personal holographic display that only you can see, and can do things like show the weather, text or call a friend, ask Alexa a question, and a plethora of other things. The device also has an unconventional method of control, with a joystick-like ring that can control the device without awkward hand gestures and swiping on the glasses themselves.

   Smart Glasses have always been a rather interesting product category. Many tech companies have thrown their hat into the ring, but few have gotten past the step of making this technology both more functionally accessible, and visually appealing. However, with Focals, Smart Glasses may finally enter the mainstream and encourage both consumer adoption, developer support, and more forays in this field.

   Currently, North has opened two showrooms in Toronto and in Brooklyn, where you can try the glasses out for yourselves, and custom-size your glasses if you choose to purchase them for a hefty $999. The glasses come in two varieties, Classic, which will ship in December, and Round, which will go on sale during 2019, and both can be purchased with a custom prescription, although this customization will not arrive until roughly June of 2019. The price tag may be high for now, but (hopefully), with this product, smart glasses will be used more widely.

Noah Kantor