Human Capable Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Stylish AR Glasses Which Look Like Real Glasses
The past few years have seen the unveiling of some of the most impressive augmented reality hardware devices. Every new year has brought new refinements to AR hardware. But most of the products are still a bit clunky and they are not as stylish as your typical Ray-Bans glasses, for example. The sweet spot for AR hardware development is when we reach a phase in innovation where you can put on your smart glasses on your regular day without attracting stares (since you are a walking cyborg) or looking creepy. We are steadily moving forward towards that future with continual hardware and design improvements.
The latest effort by Human Capable seeks to address the style and bulkiness factor. The startup has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for its new augmented reality glasses known as Norm Glasses. The glasses are not only stylish but also lightweight. They have been designed to look and feel just like any other normal glasses. Human Capable is currently taking pre-orders for the glasses from as low as $199.
The style factor has been a major roadblock to the mass adoption of augmented reality or mixed reality glasses. When it comes to wearable tech, the form factor is, after all, as important as the technical specs embedded in the device. For smart glasses, the form factor is arguably, even more important than the technical specs from a consumer standpoint.
It is with this in mind that Charles Sun began developing the smart glasses that could possibly bring form factor and reasonable technical specifications together to create wearable tech with a mass appeal. The Norm Glasses are smart glasses that could easily pass for Ray-Bans. Sun founded the startup Human Capable Inc in 2016 and in late 2018, the startup had finished the core functionality of the prototype of what it now calls the Norm Glasses. This year, the glasses were introduced at the CES and they won a 2019 Innovation Award.
Design and Specifications
The Norm Glasses augmented reality glasses have been designed with a lot of discretion. The components in the smart glasses have been discreetly fitted inside its lightweight frames without bulking up the form. They include the memory, CPU, storage, speakers, battery, camera, microphones along with an optical system capable of displaying digital data on the user’s field of view. The design focuses on the sleekness which has made the Norm Glasses among some of the lightest smart glasses in existence.
The wearable mini-computer that is embedded in the Norm Glasses runs an Android OS. The technology used in the device is voice-activated and includes an open-ear sound, dual speakers as well as a heads-up display. The design is not only stylish but also comfortable and wearable.
The Norm Glasses weigh between 30 and 36 grams so they are much lighter than most of the smart glasses that have heads-up displays. These AR glasses are even lighter than the audio-only smart glasses which have so far been the lightest smart glasses due to their skeletal frames which are equipped with fewer tech components. Users can therefore put these on and interact with them on a daily basis just like they would with any other fashionable glasses.
Currently, most augmented reality glasses face the technical challenge of shrinking the electrical and optical hardware into the glasses while still keeping them lighter and compact. There are few smart glass models in the market currently that are capable of packing up the relevant specs while still maintaining the look of normal eyeglasses.
It makes for a potentially game-changing smart glasses design. Competitors in the same space such as Nreal still have augmented reality glasses that have to be connected to a smartphone which provides the computing function for the AR platform.
The Norm Glasses have a 20-degree field of view along with a large eyebox. This design enables the wearer to seamlessly consume the digital content without the need for custom fitting. The Norm Glasses frames also support transition, polarized, tinted or prescription lenses. The smart glasses can be paired with an iOS or an Android smartphone via Bluetooth. The dual speakers in the frames have an open-ear design for a spatial audio-like experience, allowing users to listen to audio from the glasses while still being aware of their real-world surroundings. There is also a smart volume control mechanism that allows the user to listen to the audio without disrupting others who might be in close proximity.
The Norm Glasses can be used to make and receive phone calls and also to consume various kinds of audio content such as podcasts, music and audiobooks. You can also use it to manage your emails and texts, capture and view photos, to check or update your social media channels among other functions.
The glasses are pretty much like smartphones so you can extend their functionality using apps to suit your needs. They also integrate easily with multiple voice platforms. Users will be able to use the device to keep with communications, get and share information in an easy-to-use, hands-free and heads-up manner without having to hold or touch their smartphones.
The Norm Glasses are likely to ship by January 2020. The glasses’ display is full color with a battery life of up to two days. The first prototype of the glasses was completed in 2017. The frames will be available in three sizes and will go for $375. The final development along with the first production for the glasses will be accomplished through a Kickstarter Campaign which has so far gotten more than $310,000 in pledges against a target goal of $15,000.