Augmented Reality

Telepathy Walker eyewear lets you follow walking directions, possibly dreams

Navigation on smartphones provides enormous convenience to consumers. But the navigation on those devices -– just like on standalone GPS devices — tends to be designed specifically for driving rather than getting somewhere on foot. The screens on those devices can also be very hard to see while walking when it’s sunny out.

patent-claimedTelepathy Walker is small, Google Glass-like eyewear that’s been specifically designed to provide walking directions. It features a bright screen with patented display technology that enables it to be seen even in bright sunlight. It’s also been designed, unlike other smartglasses, so that the user can see both the screen and the world around them clearly at the same time.

Health and Wellness Wearables

Narbis trains your brains

Neurofeedback technology is being used in a growing number of consumer devices to help train the brain.

patent-claimedNarbis — itself an anagram of the word “brains” –- is a headset using patent-pending technology to help train users to better focus their brains. Attached to a set of glasses is a sensing device that touches the wearer’s head. When the user gets distracted the glasses darken and when the user focuses clearly the glasses clear up. The headset’s sensors measure brain matters and send the signals to the device’s electrochromic lenses. Narbis works with an accompanying app for mobile devices and costs $395 and will ship in December with a Bluetooth armband, a protective carrying case and software that includes five program goals: focus, performance, sleep, calm, and mood. Its maker is hoping to raise $150,000 by April 27.

The Kickstarter success of the similarly advertised Melon headband indicates that there is indeed a market for these types of products. The electrochromic lenses in particular are a nice touch offered by Narbis offers. Still, it’s hard to believe that such a device will get much long-term use after a few days or months. More likely than not, the product seems more like a novelty than a device most people really need.

Tech Accessories

FocalPoint makes sitting at computer less of a pain in the neck

Wearing bifocals and sitting in front of a computer is generally a frustrating and even painful combination. Once the proper position to actually see the screen is found, sitting in front of it for a while often causes a crick in the neck. That’s why FocalPoint was created. The monitor stand allows bifocal wearers to adjust and tilt their computer screen to an angle that is compatible with using the keyboard and seeing the monitor more easily.

The stand is compatible with screens that are 12-27 inches and comes with a hex wrench and all other items needed for easy assembly, which seems to be fairly minimal. Backers may choose from birch, bamboo or natural finishes.

This product seems like it may be a quality product, but it also seems that making the font larger on the screen may be an option that could resolve the issue. Interested backers may also want to check out The BU Desk, ReadyDesk, and StandStand campaigns. This campaign seeks to raise $2,500. For $25, backers get one FocalPoint with an expected delivery of January 2015.


CHEMION smart glasses make your face the LED billboard you never wanted it to be

The world is always fast trying to figure out what the next ridiculous trend will be because these ridiculous trends are guaranteed to bring in heaps of money. Technology is especially guilty of this as these trends are the veritable ebb and flow of the industry and as such, seldom do we see real and significant innovation.

CHEMION is a pair of LED glasses that can display text, images, and animations similar to how a scoreboard at a stadium and its large bulbs constantly change color to show pictures or scores. The product uses Bluetooth LE to interface with your iOS or Android smartphone so that you can customize what people around you see, and lasts about five hours on a pair of AA batteries. It looks a bit clunky, but that never stopped crazier products from seeing the day of light. One pair of Chemion glasses goes for $100 with an estimated ship date of February 2015. The campaign is looking for $10,000 to become the next big annoying thing you see everywhere.

The company behind the CHEMION, KSEED, swear they have a game changer on their hands. The more you look, though, the less of that you see. It could be due to the fact that you only have tiny slits with which to see the world, or it could be due to the grand claims of aiming to help people with speech problems with a product that amounts to a novelty handed out at a club. The company claims to be selling a quasi-medical solution, but their advertising is pretty much devoid of that noble notion. There are much better ways to address problems like this (MotionSavvy comes to mind) but this just isn’t one of them.

Television Wearables

Google Glass-like Narwhal clips on to your glasses, works in the shower

High-tech wearables that can be worn over the eyes hold a special place in pop culture canon, and have largely stayed there over the years. Most attempts at a functional piece of technology that could be worn comfortably while still providing lots of compelling content easily have all pretty much crashed and burned. Why would merQ think they have solved these problems?

Their product is the Narwhal Clip-On, a wearable device that attaches to any pair of glasses and instantly upgrades them from merely pieces of glass to a capable digital accessory by adding a digital display and a compartment in which streaming sticks like the Chromecast or the Roku can be inserted. Listen to your favorite content with the retractable Bluetooth headphone, and control it with the trackpad mouse on the rear. The display is also waterproof so your showers can become the theater you always wanted it to be. The future’s cost of entry is $299 CAD (~$260 USD) and backers can start using it June 2015. MerQ’s campaign is aiming for a $85,000CAD (~$74,200) goal.

If the behemoth that is Google tried and spectacularly failed with Glass, I don’t see how the Narwhal really sets itself apart. It adds more computer elements to an interface that doesn’t need it and frankly shouldn’t have it, and it shows: the Narwhal is incredibly ungainly and bulky. Even if the company is looking to streamline it, their reliance on streaming sticks will limit it. High-tech glasses are ultimately limited by technology, and we just don’t have what we need yet to make a compelling, Star Trek-esque version quite yet. Let’s not jump the gun.


SpexGrip offers a safe place for your glasses in a pinch

spexGripFor those who wear eyeglasses, it’s important to have them at the ready when driving. Most eyeglasses clips for the car live on the visor and, when the clip is released, come crashing down right on the driver. SpexGrip holds your glasses in the car, but attaches to the center console instead. The glasses slide into the product so they’re easy to remove without incident. One SpexGrip will cost backers a donation of $5, with an extra one thrown in. This is one of those incredible simple and cheap products that could actually be quite convenient. SpexGrip is looking to raise $3,600 on Indiegogo.

Apparel Safety

Not your father’s clip-ons, PRO allows changing of eyewear lenses in a blink

PROExtreme sports enthusiasts, bikers of all types, and military personnel all depend on their eyewear to offer crisp and clear vision. Not doing so at the wrong moment can lead to injury or even worse, death. NewBreed’s PRO eyewear system boasts the almost instantaneous switching of lenses for any situation, a step above current eyewear systems that take quite a bit of time to do the same job. It’s impressive, but ultimately the market for the $150 product is small. NewBreed is looking to raise a substantial $350,000 sum to finalize prototyping and take the PRO into production.

Tablet Accessories Technology

iSpy protects your privacy, keeps your secrets from nosy peepers

ispySome people have a sixth sense for knowing when somebody is over their shoulder, reading their incoming texts or snooping on their app usage. iSpy is a new solution that mixes both low-tech and high-tech ideas into offering users a tablet that ensures their privacy. To the naked eye, iSpy looks like a bright white screen, but with the special glasses that come with the tablet, a regular display is revealed. Additionally, a special case made of the same material as the lenses can be put around the tablet to make it suitable for sharing. While the technology here is very cool, it may have been better as an accessory for existing tablets rather than a tablet of its own. iSpy is out in December 2014 for $99 with a campaign goal of $50,000.


Cliris provides a quick cleaning for your glasses

The Premise. Cleaning eyeglasses can be tricky. Most methods either don’t get the job done well, create micro scratches on the lenses, or leave smudges behind. It’s difficult to find a fast, efficient and effective way to clean your sun or eyeglasses. 

The Product. Cliris is a glasses cleaning system that requires very little effort on your part. Simply place the glasses in the black or white pod and push start. Four minutes later they’ll come out clean and dry with an added fragrance. The product uses an environmentally safe, biodegradable cleaning solution for the glasses. Each month of daily use requires a new cartridge that gets placed in the back. Cliris plugs into the wall for power. 

The Pitch. The Swiss creators of Cliris spend the campaign video discussing the design and manufacturing of their product. They assert that this product is great for kids, teachers and business people alike. For their 33-day Kickstarter campaign, they’ve set a $280,000 goal.

The Perks. For one Cliris, early backers can donate either $269 or $299 with their choice of either black or white color and two cartridges. At a regular price, the creators are offering one Cliris and two cartridges for $328. Higher reward tiers offer the product in multi-packs with several cartridges. Estimated delivery is set for May 2015.

The Potential. The market has plenty to offer in terms of electronic eyeglasses cleaners. Most out there are also sold to clean jewelry. For instance, the Magnasonic uses only tap water to clean glasses and jewelry and has five different settings. Cliris, on the other hand, uses its special cleaning solution and add fragrance to the glasses, which other cleaners don’t generally do. Although, some might think it unnecessary to have glasses that smell like anything at all. In addition, the separate cartridges might be a hard sell as they are expensive and don’t last very long. All in all, Cliris appears to be an expensive way to get the job done right.


Portocchiali are shoulder-bound aids to keep track of your shades

PortocchialiMost people with sunglasses either keep them on top of their heads when not in use, or lose them in their bags. It’s a shame to lose or break your sunglasses especially during the summer. Portocchiali is a strap that clips to the back of your collar and loops around with a place to hand your glasses from or a thinner strap that reaches up to the arm of the glasses. For this purposefully conspicuous product, the creators only offer one reward tier at €69. Portocchiali is a Belgian product that has a €30,000 goal for a month-long campaign on Indiegogo.