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

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

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47 comments
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  • What an awful website!

    Concept is great, but is the tech really there yet for all this technology in what appears to be a normal pair of glasses?? To me the glasses look far to bulky and silly, thats why Google have tries to make it obvious but stylish....sort of...and to me both are a fail!
    Carl White
    • Looks less like Google glass=

      Even more privacy complaints.
      Cayble
    • Failure

      Your comment is a failure. What's up with the bad grammar?
      phil8192
  • Does this headset look like Google Glass? No? That's the point

    For me the looks were only part of it. Google glasses did have that kind of Hackers movie feel to it which isn't bad but probably won't win you any points. The real problem with google glass is the functionality was so limited that it wasn't worth the $1500. I don't need a device that can just display exactly what my phone displays into my eye. The glasses game needs to be stepped up, especially for those of us who don't wear glasses to convince us why we should.
    Loverock.Davidson
    • I agree with you that at $1500, Google Glass isn't really worth it.

      However, I have seen real-world use of Google Glass by certain sports figures and they offer a viewpoint that no other system can really achieve, though admittedly there are a few, much bulkier devices that offer part of that functionality but simply look hideous and affect performance in use.

      The point is that the technology is improving and quite honestly having the ability to overlay data on a real-world view can offer huge benefits. We're only now achieving capabilities dreamed of a half-century ago and longer.
      Vulpinemac
      • The issue is that yes, it may offer huge benefits in some aspects of life

        but only as long as they are used in the proper place an time, which is my biggest fear with any of these.

        70 MPH down the turnpike with these on is just a deadly accident waiting to happen.
        William.Farrel
        • driving? meh

          That genie's already out of the bottle. Manufacturers are putting infotainment systems in cars with Facebook front and center (literally). And of course the real killer on the roads - people just don't give a s***.
          frylock
        • It depends ...

          ... on what kind of information is being displayed. If it is navigation and car operational information, it could be a good thing. If they can get these things to reliably track the wearer's head position within the vehicle, they could overlay FLIR images for driving in poor visibility conditions, enhancing safety. For pilots of small aircraft, they could overlay nearby air traffic, airways, weather and obstructions, potentially making flying as safe as operating a car on the ground.
          phil8192
  • Look normal??? What fun is that?!?!

    Glassholes WANT to look like droids. It's all part of the schtick.
    Userama
    • I wear glasses because I HAVE to wear glasses.

      My optics are extreme in two different ways; 20/400 plus stigmatism (which can't be corrected with contacts) on one eye with 20/40 plus stigmatism on the other. I simply can't wear contacts. Aside from this, even if they could their cost is exorbitant and would grossly blow any medical eyewear insurance out of the water replacing them as frequently as contacts get replaced.

      Now add to these contacts the technology required to put these displays in front of your vision. Where does that price go now?
      Vulpinemac
      • Stigmatism

        someone is lying to you, I have a stigmatism in one eye as well and it does not affect my ability to wear contacts.
        E Conner
        • I've seen the claim before

          Apparently, it makes a difference whether the astigmatism is on the cornea or the lens; the way it was explained to me, the first is correctable with contact lenses and the second is not.
          John L. Ries
  • People do not like to ware glasses in general.

    That is why the contact lenses industry is so huge.

    Wearing glasses is bothersome, and people tend to take them off - and misplace them - all the time. Misplacing a $1500 glasses is not funny. And with the smart phone theft raging, who is to say that gg will be immune?
    ForeverSPb
    • If such tech glasses look just like everyday glasses, what thief will know?

      Or do you expect a sudden rash of sunglass and regular vision glass theft just on the one-in-a-million chance that you're grabbing something you can really sell?
      Vulpinemac
      • gg has an embedded camera

        and it is hard to hide a forward looking lens. dah.
        For a $1500 reward people will learn to spot them, just give it some time.
        ForeverSPb
    • Yep.

      I wear glasses and they make my nose and head hurt. Contacts are annoying too. Imagine dropping a $1,500 contact lens down the drain.
      mrefuman
    • People don't like having vision problems in general

      But the truth is the majority of Americans do need corrective lenses at least part of the day (over 70%) and eyeglass wearers outnumber contact wearers 3 to 1. Of course that's not the image contact lense sellers would leave you with because contacts are more profitable both in immediate sales and aftercare (cleaning solution) items.
      oncall
    • Speak for yourself

      I've been wearing glasses full time since I was 13. Frankly, I think I look good in them, I hate the idea of putting things in my eyes and it's fun to tease contact lens wearers who complain about how they feel.
      John L. Ries
    • RE: People do not like to wear glasses in general.

      I don't know if that statement is true or not, but I wear glasses and don't have a problem with it. I've never tried contacts and have no inclination to do so. I wear transition glasses and haven't had to fiddle with sunglasses in 20 years, which is a big benefit to me. I do spend the money on quality glasses though, glasses that don't cause me pain or discomfort.
      kb5ynf
    • good point, that people don't like glasses

      But first, any one should be able to spot one of these devices a mile off. Come on! Even integrated into the frame, the electronics are still relatively bulky. BTW I wear wire frames. Yes, I know that certain (read Brooklyn) groopies and trendies think that bulky frames are cool. But that will last just about another microsecond, and the trendies will be off on something else. I still think my wire frames and the non-frame frames are best. I don't mind wearing glasses, because now I can see.
      These devices, like devices in glasses that have hearing aids imbedded, are totally recognizable. So I will know when someone is looking at me with one.
      Pay attention.
      Look.
      It was Yogi Berra that said "You can see a lot by looking."
      BaruchAtta