Does this headset look like Google Glass? No? That's the point

Summary:A new fashion-friendly rival to Google Glass has surfaced, focusing on the look of the headset -- but will this prompt further privacy worries?

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Credit: Laforge Optical

Wearable technology is certainly the trend to watch this year -- and as more companies begin to explore the concept, rival headset products have surfaced.

Google's Glass headset, currently only available to a select few and within a prototype stage, is one such product. The headset allows you to connect to the Web, search and activate functions including making video calls, browsing the Web and taking images through voice activation, and also allows users to record video.

While privacy concerns have already impacted on the product's potential adoption in the future, one more annoying element -- it looks odd when you wear it.

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But what if you combined the technological benefits of Glass with today's fashion?

This is the goal of Boston-based Laforge, a firm that believes there is enough room within the emerging wearable tech market for its Icis smart glasses.

The company, currently in the midst of running an Indiegogo campaign to raise enough funds to bring their glasses to market, says that focusing purely on the technological experience is a mistake. Instead, you can snag a wider user base by providing different looks, styles and frames to suit different people -- and at the same time, keep the core functionality of the product.

The glasses, in the same way as Google's variant, have a camera, microphone and speakers. However, the display is set directly in your line of sight which brings up updates in real time. Three function modes are possible: normal, active and drive. In active, social notifications are only minimally displayed, wheres in driver, only data related to driving is displayed.

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Notifications from smartphone apps are converted in order to be shown on the user interface of Icis. In order to get around compatibility issues, the team have created the "SocialFLO" app, which is designed to make your smartphone apps recognizable and usable by the smart glasses. The foundation has also begun for developers to begin making widgets.

It would be interesting to compare Glass against these types of headsets; those that follow fashion and blend in to daily life instead of standing out in stark contrast. Would you feel more worried about your privacy if you didn't know the person wearing something Glass-esque was capable of filming or taking images of you without permission -- or is it a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'?

At the time of writing, the Icis Indiegogo campaign has reached $8,836 of a $80,000 goal.

Topics: Google, Emerging Tech, Google Apps

About

Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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