The Google Glass was one of the first attempts to market augmented reality (AR) smart glasses to the general consumer market. The effort was largely a failure, with many analysts attributing some of the negative reaction to the poor aesthetics of the device. Since then the technology has moved on, and several companies are again cautiously looking at AR smart glasses for the consumer market, such as The North Focals newly announced AR eyewear.
The North Focals are the product of Canadian startup company North, who have designed a pair of AR smart glasses that look just like a pair of regular glasses with slightly thicker arms, making the technology considerably less intrusive than in many previous efforts.
North have put the device up for pre-order on its website, priced at $999 (USD), a price which is cheaper than either the Magic Leap One or Microsoft HoloLens, is still a fairly high price point, especially when compared to the cost of many virtual reality (VR) devices.
The North Focals can be equipped with prescription lenses if needed, but all users need to make an appointment with the company in order for the device to be customised to the user’s pupil width and focal length.
The device works be using a miniaturised projector inside the frame to beam content onto the user’s retina, which explains why the device can look so similar to a pair of regular glasses. The device does lack a camera, however, which means remote transmission features such as those seen in other smart glasses will be unavailable.
The creators of the device say that users will be able to access content such as text messages, calendar updates, weather forecasts, Amazon Alexa and AR navigation features. A smartphone will need to be paired with the North Focals in order to access most features, which will be done using Bluetooth.
For future coverage on new AR products ad services, keep checking back with VRFocus.