The introduction of Google Glass, however, has opened up all new doors in eyewear technology. We've seen it make waves in the way we pay, treat Parkinson's disease and even visit the zoo.
It's all great, and we're gonna let Google Glass finish and everything, but there are plenty of other examples of high-tech eyewear also worth checking out. Here are a few of our favorite non-Glass glasses.
1. Light Therapy Glasses
A student wears a prototype of Drexel University student Troy Hudson's "light therapy" glasses.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), more loosely known as the "winter blues," affects nearly 10 million people in the Northern Hemisphere during the winter months. Most symptoms include depression, anxiety and mood changes. The typical form of treatment is light therapy, which uses special lamps to literally mimic the sunlight that isn't being absorbed naturally.
A student at Westphal College of Media Arts & Design designed a pair of sunglasses that beam simulated sunlight into the wearer's peripheral vision. Anyone who suffers from SAD, the creator says, will be "tricked" into thinking it's summer — even in the middle of a dreary February night in the northern woods of Wisconsin.
Troy Hudson, the 22-year-old student, designed the glasses to make light therapy more routine. Most light therapy lamps or boxes come with the burden of sitting in place for several hours each day. It's fine for lounging — you just flip on the switch and sit close enough to absorb the light — but Hudson wants the glasses to accommodate a more active lifestyle. With the eyewear, the light goes wherever the wearer does.
The title of this group's website — SpaceGlasses.com — sums it up nicely.
Meta, the California-based startup, is packing the power of augmented reality, a laptop and a smartphone into a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses. Wearing the device creates a hologram-like display that users can sort through with their hands, similar to the technology seen in Iron Man and Minority Report.
The glasses are a two-part system: one half 3D output display, and one half 3D scanner. The output display allows the user to see holograms — say, an image or computer file — and the scanner scans the environment and tells the computer where to place the graphics relative to the wearer. The overall idea, its founders say, is to create a Google Glass-type device that looks a little more discrete.
The group raised close to $200,000 for the project through a Kickstarter campaign last year. According to the website, you can preorder a pair for a cool $3,650. Orders will ship in January 2015.
3. Avegant Glyph
The Glyph, a wearable "personal theater" that recently raised more than $1.5 million on Kickstarter, is a set of glasses that use virtual retinal display technology to give users crystal clear images.
The contraption doubles as headphones, and when you flip the band down in front of your eyes, there are a series of two million miniature mirrors — not a screen — that project visuals directly into your retinas.
Using a basic HDMI connection, users can transport anything from their personal devices to the Glyph.
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