Smart Glasses and wearable devices are a category of eyewear that adds information to what a person sees or hears. This can involve augmented reality glasses, eyewear that connects to the internet, can take pictures and video, a phone, music with bluetooth, WiFi and GPS capabilities along with connections to Social Media.
We have also included into this sector: Electronic lenses, Adjustable focusing lenses and Smart contact lenses, Augmented Reality Glasses and Smart Glasses.
Smart Glasses: We all know the story of Google Glass and while many laughed and called wearers glassholes,, the truth of the matter, Google was not the first to develop smart glass technology. Augmented Reality was ‘invented in the 1950’s and today has evolved into many uses. The first ‘Smart Glass’ company to really start producing Smart Glass for the masses is most likely Vuzix. Today there are about 40 different Smart Glass companies who have segmented out uses for medical, gaming, work and of course fun.
It is predicted that Smart EyeGlasses will ship over 1 Billion Units by 2020. The biggest drive will be in workplace health and entertainment. In the workplace, companies such a UPS, Virgin Altantic, Boeing have incorporated smart glasses into the workplace.
Vuzix received a $24.8 million investment from Intel Corporation to push the next generation of Vuzix fashion-based wearable display products for the consumer marketplace. Carl Zeiss, Recon Instruments, Sony, Nokia, Samsung, Epson are all in this marketplace.
The Augmented Reality Industry: With just Microsoft’s Hololens and Facebook’s Oculus Rift is estimated to be at 150 BILLION. Add in a few others such as Magic Leap (funded by Google), the market might just be bigger than that.
Adjustable Focusing Glasses such a Adlens, is the leader in variable focusing lenses but others are such as Eyejusters are cropping up. Using technology, the wearer can adjust their own vision for various vision circumstances. The other advantage of Adjustable Focusing lenses is to solve vision problems around the world and it is an convenient way for eyecare providers who travel to remote areas. This market will continue to grow. Companies such as Eclipse adjustable lenses is on Indiegogo, Focus Specs (Indiegogo) ViFlex (Indiegogo).
Electric Lenses: While Pixel might have had difficulties, the concept of Electronic Lens will grow as technology makes this viable.
e-Vision is one such company. Their Smart Focus Optics™, relies on electrically modulating optics and lenses to refract, diffract or diffuse light. This tunable technology can be applied to lenses of any kind – including eyeglasses, contact lenses, intraocular lenses, VR & AR systems and camera lenses.
Smart Lenses– Also known as: Adjustable Tinting, Tint on Demand or Electrochromic sunglasses. In an article in 2007 the University of Washington brought up the concept of the Smart Lens which allowed the user to adjust their tints. Since that time .. the concept took off. Electrochromic lenses instantly change via the wearer and the wearer can manually switch between clear and tinted. The Navy has been experimenting with Fast-Tint Protective Eyewear concept as well. (FOX)
Companies such as CTRL and Skugga have received crowd-sourced funding to bring to market this new lens- tint technology.
Smart Contact Lenses will be here soon. See 10 Smart Contact Lens of the Future. Johnson and Johnson are working on smart contacts quietly. Google is working on this as we all know via Verily. Verily has also received a patent for a Solar Powered Contact Lens.
Deep Optics recently bought by Essilor is also working on a Smart Contact lens that can instantly focus the eye.
EPGL Smart Contact Lens with Cooper Vision: EPGL filed a series of patents pending in the smart contact lens technology. The latest filing is for an optic display mechanism within the contact lens which could lay a new foundation for augmented reality (AR) in the field of vision.
Smart Sports Eyewear is coming on strong: Recon and Zeal (owned by Maui Jim) offer Smart Goggles for skiing, Via Crowd-sourcing, SenthIN1 smart goggles for biking. Others include Moggles, Ride-On. Solo Smart Goggles were used in the Summer Olympics for bicycling. There is even smart glasses that help find fish! Sealz sunglasses is a new patented military-based technology to the world of performance eyewear. The wearer can with a click go from a sunglass to a goggle. On Course Goggles- help swimmer swim in open water with an electronic Compass.
The Smart-Eyewear market is worth billions if you add in Gaming, Sports, Healthcare and work.
Helping eyecare professionals rx smart glasses is Rochester Optical.