Wearable tech has been coming for years, but its never quite been accessible. Smart watches, while looking cool, are limited in their convenience. Google’s Glass had the opposite problem, with some cool features but an inability to produce it in a small form factor.
Now, Intel has finally given a look at its Vaunt smart glasses, and they look surprisingly normal. The Verge reveals a device that is indistinguishable from regular glasses and provides just the right amount of information.
Rather than the bulky projection mount of Google Glass, Intel is opting to reflect lasers directly onto your right retina. Unless you consciously look for it, the information is invisible, and the people interacting with you will see little more than a red dot.
Essentially, Intel is selling a much more minimal product. It won’t have Glass’ cameras, it won’t use swipe gestures or voice commands. Instead, you’ll dismiss items with a glance, and will only get the information you need.
According to Intel, the idea of Vaunt is to show important contextual information. It will be able to show directions, call notifications, and will sync with your iOS or Android device.
In terms of functionality, it seems similar to a smartwatch, but it has the advantage of being on your face. You don’t have to pull up your sleeve and glance at it – it’s just there. Though your brain will tune out existing notifications, new ones in your peripheral alert you immediately.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t hurdles. To get a pair of Vaunt glasses, users will need to have them measured specifically for their pupil distance, similar to a regular pair of glasses. Those with poor eyesight will already be familiar with this, but it might be hard to convince non-wearers to put frames on their face all day.
Thankfully, Vaunt should work perfectly with any prescription. You’ll get your regular lenses put inside the frame and continue as usual. Due to Vaunt’s retina projection, its text won’t be out of focus to long-sighted users, either.
A much bigger question is software. Intel has produced its own bespoke platform, but it still needs to get developers on board. As such, it’s planning to launch an early access program this year so that devs can create apps. It sounds eerily familiar to Google Glasses’ testing period, but Intel is hoping for more long-term success.
Though the styling is currently limited, Intel has plans to launch in all different shapes and sizes. Reports say the company is planning to sell a majority stake in Vaunt in return for a partnership with ‘strong sales channels’.