Glasses Made Smart: 5 Best Wearable Gadgets at CES 2017

New styles of eyeglasses frames? Different set of lens coating? What will be the future of eyewear? In contrast with what happened at the International Consumer Electronics Show or International CES on January 5 to 8 in Las Vegas, which—obviously—doesn’t involve any eyeglasses frame or coating, and if you’re looking at it on a technological point of view, smart glasses are back with a vengeance as seen at CES 2017 and we’ve listed some of the must-tries below:

PogoCam

pogocam

According to its inventor, PogoTec, it is the smallest wearable camera in the world. It’s so small it can be attached to an eyewear. In a Business Wire article, it measures 10.9 x 12.5 x 42. 8 mm. It can be attached magnetically to an eyewear with a proprietary track called PogoTrack. What can it do? Well, typical camera things like it “can capture and store 100 still photographs or up to two minutes of continuous 720p HD video at 30 frames/second with full audio,” Business Wire explains.

New Glass C200

new-glass-c200

A camera on an eyeglasses frame does not sound pretty impressive but it could turn an ordinary eyewear into a spy gadget. Lenovo’s New Glass C200 sings a different tune specifically designed for business customers. It is a type of smart glasses where augmented reality and artificial intelligence (AI) are rolled into one, ZDNet reports.

R-8 and R-9

R-8 and R-9.jpg

Osterhout Design Group (ODG) introduced the first-ever Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 smart glasses in their R-8 and R-9. In a press release from ODG, the sleek and small design of R-8 is perfect for “early consumer adopters, providing access to movies, sports, gaming, navigation and news articles and books. While R-9 that won three CES 2017 Innovation Award categories has 50˚ FOV (field-of-view) and a 1080p Project Horizon platform.

Blade 3000

Blade 3000.png

This wearable of Vuzix leans on the sunglasses side and a winner of four awards in CES 2017. It bagged the Computer Accessories Product, Gaming Product, Virtual Reality Product, and Wireless Handset Accessories Product awards. Based on their website, it runs on Android, with “Cobra” display engines and sports Vuzix’s see-through waveguide optics. Blade 3000’s eyeglasses frame and lenses resemble regular sunglasses as shown above. Stylish, right?

Aira

Besides its interesting background, Aira serves the true and original purpose of glasses—to help see. In Aira’s case, it’s the blind. It doesn’t correct vision though but relies on remote assistive technology. The blind customer is assisted by an Aira Agent (not an AI but a real person) to perform daily activities such as navigating thru streets. In short, the Aira Agent’s job description is to be a visual interpreter for the blind. However, it does have privacy and security issues that need to be addressed like how reliable and trustworthy the agent is.

We’re not sure if this going to be a trend but it looks like we’re heading to that direction. Even the tech giant Apple wants to have one on their line of products (iGlass?).

Back to our hanging question: what will be the future of eyewear 10 to 20 years from now? It is a future where choosing the right eyeglasses frame is the least of our worries because we’re more concerned if it runs on Android, iOS, or Windows. Richard Clompus of PogoTec in his interview in Business Wire hit the nail when he said: “Eyeglasses are arguably the world’s oldest, most successful wearable technology.” It is just getting cooler, smarter, and better through the years and beyond.

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Future Eyeglasses: Can Take Pictures & Measure Blood Sugar

It looks like we will totally forget about eyeglasses frames because of the techy eyeglass frames innovations we’re finding out.

Recently, tech giants like Google, Samsung and Sony presented to the public their VR (virtual reality) headsets Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, and Sony PlayStation VR respectively. There is no doubt that virtual reality is finally here. Moreover, in a distant future, your eyes they aren’t only going to get dimensionally tricked but they will be able to put the camera lens right on your eyes.

The Battle of Patents

Or should we say the battle of concepts? The tech companies we’ve mentioned above are already prancing around the idea of smart contact lenses. They may have realized that it would be inconvenient if they put the controls on the eyeglasses frames, I mean do you even want smart eyeglasses Google Glass 2.0?

They’ve learned their lesson and now have come up with amazing ideas to create cooler and better smart contact lenses.

Samsung’s has a camera, motion detection sensors, antenna and a small display. This small display offers the user an augmented reality experience. This means the images from the display would be projected directly to the eye, Tech Times explains. Their smart contact lens is operated together with a smartphone for processing.

Google has a similar concept in mind when they filed a patent for contact lenses with a tiny camera. The difference is, according to Tech Times, “[it] can assist them (vision impaired individuals) in crossing roads and managing blockages in their path by sending signals to an accompanying smartphone that warns of pending problems” using eye movements such as “blinking and thinking.”

Sony also filed a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for smart contact lenses with camera-like features. It is capable of taking photos by consciously blinking an eye. The wearable device can also record videos with play back functionality. The unique feature that sets it apart from Samsung and Google is it has its own internal storage medium. It has additional controls such as “tilt sensor”, aperture control, autofocus and image stabilization.

Assisting the Vision Impaired                   

Let us not forget the original use of contact lenses. Dictionary.com describes contact lenses as “a pair of small plastic disks that are held in place over the cornea by surface tension and correct vision defects inconspicuously.” Now, the medical community wants to make it more advanced and much, much smarter.

A University of Leeds researcher named Devesh Mistry is currently working with liquid crystal to produce an adjustable artificial lens aimed at helping restore long-sightedness in the elderly, also known as presbyopia, according to an article in University of Leeds website. Liquid crystal, which is the main composition of the lens, is found in the screens of smartphones and TVs. Mistry explains that the “lenses would adjust and focus automatically, depending on the eye muscles’ movement,” which a person with presbyopia cannot do.

Google taps into the field of medicine as well when they introduced two years ago a lens project that aims to keep track of glucose levels.

Bionic eyes are not a new concept. According to The Guardian, Rhian Lewis, a blind woman who suffered from retinitis pigmentosa regained her vision after being implanted with a “bionic eye.”  This was through the help of Oxford’s John Radcliffe hospital.

The Threat on Privacy

However, skeptics are saying that these wearable devices could be a case of “invasion of privacy.” It is actually ripped off from a spy or sci-fi novel, and now, extensive research and development is put into it to make it a reality. Do we need to create a regulatory body in order to protect the safety and interest of the public?

But what we understand from these is selfies are destined to end in the imminent future. How are you going to take a selfie with a device like this? You will most likely do it in front of a mirror.

Don’t fret yet because these are still patents or concepts. At least, in the near future, we will never have trouble choosing the right eyeglasses frames.