Google Glass: Slightly Cooler Edition

google glass sunglasses

Google Glass has a problem. Facecomputer is interesting, but it’s also freaking weird. I should know–I’ve been wearing Glass for a month or two (thank you, Google Ventures!), and this was my experience. Along the way, I’ve been thinking about some how to retrofit Glass to be, dare I say, cooler.

When you wear Glass in public, it’s a bit jarring. People either are oblivious to them or they stare at you like you’re a leper. This happens even here where I live now in Silicon Valley, land of the weird tech stuff. The problem is that people just don’t understand them yet. Do they record non-stop? Do they do facial recognition and/or steal my soul? These are the questions the unwashed masses think or outright ask when they encounter Glass.

Facecomputing might have a future, but there’s going to be an adjustment period. Additionally, they could probably benefit from a more contemporary design–as opposed to the futurist nerd halo that some folks see them as.

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It’s safe to assume that future versions of Glass may offer more style. In the meantime, I thought about how to improve them starting with a new set of frames. I also remembered that Josh Highland had recently tried a few ways to integrate Glass into a pair of prescription lenses using both a trusty cable tie and later heat shrink tubing. I thought the cable tie route would be a good way to try a proof of concept.

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This is only going to hurt a little…

Sure enough they come apart easily with just (1) Torx 5 screw. Next was to figure out what to stick them on.

Through my time with Glass, I noticed that I used them mostly outdoors and during the day. The big use cases were for photos of my kids or for GPS navigation (which is rather impressive, I should add). Other than that, I wasn’t really using them indoors or at night. While Glass comes with a sunglasses attachment, they went for function over form in this case. The sunglass attachment is similar to a pair of the iconic Oakley’s from the ’80s. Perfect for rushing the ski slopes in neon, but not much else.

So, I went out and bought a pair of what are arguably the coolest sunglasses you could buy today. Those, of course, are a pair of Persols–yes, these are luxury shades from Italy. Not exactly the cheapest but their matte design and flexible arms seemed like a perfect match. Plus, if it worked, I wanted a style I would actually enjoy wearing. After hacking one of the arms in half to accommodate Glass and cinching the cable tie, they were ready. In just a few minutes, I had created… well something!

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It’s alive!

So, how do they look on?

Of course, I can’t actually show you because the #1 way to look cool with Glass is to never post photos of yourself wearing them! 😉 So, you’ll just have to take my word about it when I tell you that they look better. Initial tests seem to indicate they also blend in dramatically more than before. Even in crowded public spaces, a lot less people notice this pair of modified Glass.

In the end, Glass and other wearables need to also consider how they make their product fade into the background. They may have a better chance with adoption if we don’t even know it is there.

Possible Next Steps

  • Use black heat shrink tubing to replace the cable tie and make it prettier (also via Josh Highland)
  • Find a Bay area machinist to improve the design. I have a few ideas if you know anyone please let me know.
  • Register as Borg with the local authorities.

More Photos

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I used a fairly light lens, and so far, brightness does not appear to be impaired.

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Introducing third-eye not so blind.

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The view from above.

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Bonus advantage of this design is that Glass is now foldable. Previously, it was not.

Sean Percival

Sean helps startups get an unfair advantage in the market. Want to work together? Get in touch.