SMART GLASSES: top of the 21ST CENTURY ESSENTIALS for 2018 Time to get them before this Smart Technology leaves you behind! 2018 is definitely the year Smart Glasses have got a whole lot Smarter. Apart from performing the role of very personal video/photo cameras and GPS, using the same navigation apps as your smart phone, the new generation of these Glasses possess now a gamut of other talents that many of us may not be able to do without in the very near future. How to tell the difference between Smart Glasses and Augmented Reality Glasses First of all I must stress here the differences between Smart Glasses and proper Augmented Reality Glasses. The former are basically ‘Optical Head Mounted Displays’ which, via a transparent screen, allow the user to check free floating images and information, but do not actually augment reality, mixing, so to speak, your regular vision and experience with imaginary vision and experience. These amazing glasses however, aptly also named Magic Glasses, can now:

  • Check your health signs, every minute of the day, and alert you when something changes.
  • Some have embedded Facial Recognition technology that can show you the digital profiles of people you meet.
  • Other uses suggested are: hands-free grocery shopping with embedded shopping lists, getting updated train/flight information while carrying your luggage in a train station or airport; voice directed searches for anything from street directory to recipes.

With proper Augmented Reality (AR) Glasses, on the other hand, you will not just get images on a floating monitor, but the connected images will feel as if they were part of your reality. Not just a tiger, or anything else, projected on your glasses’ little transparent screen, but a tiger you are able to interact with, as if it were there with you. If you are playing a game for instance an AR Glass will make you believe that you are actually inside the game itself, not just playing it. The game or fantasy with its environment and characters will feel ‘real’ to you as objects are in your physical environment. No more a dream, your daily life can now be enriched and transformed by simply putting on a pair of these Magic Specs! The downside of AR Glasses is that, in order to achieve the range of vision needed to have an Augmented Reality experience, they are larger, heavier and more complex than the Smart Glasses, the latter looking now very similar to common glasses. The day is not far though when AR Glasses will not need the hardware bulk to work this futuristic technology and will also disguise well as common eyeglasses. A proof of this can be found in comparing the newest AR Glasses editions with some of the earlier prototypes. To use the earlier experimental glasses by Google, for instance, one needed a separate microphone, hand held camera and big monitor frames. Glasses like those are now mainly produced for factories and work places where they can perform very useful tasks and don’t look out of place. Simple Smart Glasses may aspire to become one day fully functional AR enabled devices but, at present, their use is different and their range of features more limited. Even those Smart Glasses are now allowing experiences that would have been impossible when the technology came out with the first Smart Glasses produced by ‘Google X’ in 2013/14, just about five years ago. Those first releases weren’t a resounding success either and had to be withdrawn from the market in early 2015 due to privacy concerns and technical malfunctions. The technology has advanced by leaps and bounds since then and has now reached a complete new level of reliability and capability. Smart Glasses are not anymore an exciting novelty but one of the 21st CENTURY MUST HAVE ESSENTIALS! All well and said, but how to choose the right Smart Eyewear to suit your specific needs and pocket? Here are some of the best Smart Glasses released on the market by big names in 2018. Sadly the Intel Vaunt which I’ve described below has been already discontinued because of lack of commercial investment in their model.

 EVERYSIGHT RAPTOR (from Elbit Systems)

Buy Eyesight Raptor


  • This sleek model promises to deliver ease of use and performance. For twenty five years this company has provided groundbreaking products for helmet mounted technology, used by fighter jet pilots and the like. This model is designed with the general public and it has been advertised especially with athletes in mind, particularly bikers (professional and weekend variety). Their high brightness digital display has been designed to suit outdoor activities. It is fully see-through and unobtrusive. The aerodynamic visor is intended for maximum wind protection and also comes, at some extra cost, with a replaceable dark tinted visor, while a lighter tinted visor can also be purchased if needed.  These Smart Glasses weight about 98 grams and include adjustable nose pads. They even fold like regular glasses. Bluetooth Smart technology links these Glasses to your phone and all other peripherals. And the Everysight app. allows easy sharing info, videos etc. The Raptor Glasses’ hardy design is made specifically to withstand challenging outdoor conditions, such as heavy rain, wind and dust. The usual swipe and tap gestures are supported and are sensitive enough to work well even if you are wearing thick gloves. Voice control is also available to start recording videos or taking photos etc. Alternatively you may choose to guide the Raptor via the handlebar-mounted Bluetooth controller (supplied separately). If you need to wear corrective lenses of any kind the makers of Raptor offers Rx (doctor prescription) adapter (sold separately) that will work with your optometrist designed prescription lenses. Finally, the battery supplied with these gadgets is a lithium-ion polymer, guarantying up to 8 hours of power. Their test pilot has apparently covered over 120 miles (about 193 kilometers) before needing to recharge.

Vusix Blade - Smart Glasses

  • these Smart Glasses are paired with Android, iOS, and Wi-Fi and are integrated also with Alexa Amazon, allowing users not only to connect digitally to mapping, weather, restaurants ratings, private messaging etc., but to do it hands-free and unobtrusively. Vuzix, leading developer of smart appliances, has been producing other types of smart glasses, mainly focused on industrial use. This model however has been designed with the individual person in mind and has many features that will attract consumers interested in smart technology for their own private use. These Blade Glasses will make your computer or smart phone information available to you in a new exciting way. The makers claim that ‘finally fashion meets technology in the wearable display arena’.

Alpha-Glasses - Smart Glasses

  • Working at this technology since 2014 the manufacturers describe these wearables as ‘the first of casual AR Glasses’. These in fact look very much as a regular pair of glasses, with just a couple of notches on the side (for the camera) and slightly thicker arms.  They display a rectangular slightly transparent box in the center of your vision, to view street directories, messages, notifications etc. The beauty of these Smart Glasses is that they are fully connected to the apps you regularly use on your phone, tablet or computer, smart watch, making it very easy to transfer data like photos or movies from your wearable glasses to your Smart Phone etc., to share them as you do with your other smart technology. These Glasses are particularly interesting for their light weight and, being approved by international investors and researchers they have a guaranteed future in this rapidly developing market.


Vaunt Smart-Glasses

  • Out earlier in 2018 now sadly already discontinued these are very wearable and light (only 50 grams) plastic framed Smart Glasses that can easily be mistaken for common eyeglasses. They don’t look ‘geeky’ and they don’t need to be constantly activated by hand tapping. While you feel you are looking into the holographic screen the laser technology is actually guiding the images directly to the back of your eyes’ retinas. The same technology also helps to keep notification out of the usual eye range of vision. In this way, unless I direct my view to the holographic screen, it remains invisible and cannot distract me in whatever I’m doing. When new notifications appear they are not visible to external observers. They are Bluetooth enabled to connect to your iPhone or Android and showcase many more cool features, like a compass for orientation and an accelerometer, to measure the acceleration of your body or the car, bike, horse etc you may be riding. These glasses are also enabled to utilize additional apps in the future, either from Intel or third party producers, opening the technology to many exciting possibilities.

In my next post I’ll discuss the best Augmented Reality Glasses of 2018. Stay tuned…