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The most promising AI smart glasses are from a brand you've never heard of

No, it's not Meta or Xreal. The Frame by Brilliant Labs is touted as the world's first glasses with an integrated multimodal AI assistant.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
Frame by Brilliant Labs
Brilliant Labs

Brilliant Labs today is announcing the launch of Frame, what the company calls the world's first glasses with an integrated multimodal AI assistant. If your definition of smart glasses includes placing visual overlays in your environment and seeing text floating as you wander about, then the Frame -- not the dozens of screen-mirroring glasses -- is the one you've been waiting for.

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Frame, much like the Humane AI Pin and Rabbit R1, lets you navigate and interact with the physical world through multimodal, generative AI agents. You can ask the always-on AI assistant, "Noa," questions about what's in front of you, how many calories you're about to consume, or what's written on that foreign signage, and it'll find the most appropriate AI model to answer, from GPT-4V for visual-based queries, to Stable Diffusion model for image generation, to Perplexity AI for search.

The Perplexity integration is arguably the most notable AI partnership of the Frame, with its search capabilities rivaling Google and being able to generate fast and reliable results. "On a more technical level, we've tried a lot of stuff, and there's just no one as fast. Speed matters when you're in that moment and only have a few seconds to know about something before moving to the next thing," Bobak Tavangar, CEO of Brilliant Labs, tells me.

The form factor of the Frame is based on retro, "off-beat style" glasses, as Bobak calls it, that the late Steve Jobs, John Lennon, and Gandhi wore. "This (technology) is so new and unfamiliar, so we tried to reference something that looks familiar but at the same time has a lot of lineage to our shared pop culture." Hidden within the lenses is a projector that can beam out text and images to roughly 20 degrees diagonal of field of view. It's more than sufficient to display around the AI output use case and feels like an iPad Pro at arm's length, I'm told. See below for a first look at the Frame glasses.

It's difficult not to draw comparisons between the Frame and the Meta Ray-Ban smart glasses; both wearables are purposed to put an AI assistant on your face, available at all times. But there's one thing the Frame isn't doing, and you may or may not like it: It won't capture and store images and videos. There's only one front-facing sensor on the Frame, and as soon as it captures what's in front of you when answering visual-based questions, like "What would you recommend on this menu for vegans?", the data gets discarded shortly after.

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However, like the Meta Ray-Ban, the Frame is powered by your smartphone and operates on the cellular or Wi-Fi network that it's connected to, meaning the AI wearable is not intended to replace your phone. That also means that the glasses will be just that, a fashion accessory and nothing more, when you're on the subway or in an area with very, very poor signal. 

If there's one thing that Bobak wants to leave readers with, it's his belief in creating a device that's open-source and hackable (in the better sense). "It's essential for developers, hackers, artists, mad scientists to sink their teeth into this technology and really understand their implications, for all of us, collectively," he tells me. 

The Frame is available for preorder today and retails for $349, with shipments beginning in April. Brilliant Labs has also partnered with AddOptics to provide "precision bonded" prescription lenses for those who need them.

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