We like to personalize our gadgets. We customize our desktop computers with wallpaper and graphic screen savers. We do the same with our laptops and mobile phones let alone choose our ring tones of preference. As far as the hardware side of a device goes, some of us even like to put bumper stickers on our laptops and desktops. Although Google Glass may not release on the market until 2014, there’s already talk about customizing Glass hardware with stylistic frames. This is definitely inviting for people who would use Glass as corrective eye-wear.
Since Project Glass’s promotional contest earlier this year, the buzz has been over the “practical” uses of Glass particularly with multimedia and social media apps as well as with its camera feature. But some of Glass’s most practical uses will be for accessibility purposes for everyday duties and actions for people with disabilities. This is especially the case with its voice activation feature for people without limbs and features for the hearing impaired. Back in the spring, Google also took into consideration people with sight impairment. Since then the designers at Google have been working on making the device accessible for corrective lenses.
But corrective lenses or no corrective lenses, there has been concern for the appearance of Glass. Comments of appearances have ranged from no style to geeky or dorky style. Yours truly sees more of the no-style in Glass since there’s almost no appearance to begin with. At least at first glance, the Glass is hardly noticeable on the wearer which in appearance consists mostly of a near-wire thin frame and a Prism lens on the right-hand side that is so transparent it’s almost invisible. Yet some people have claimed it to be geeky in looks. “Silicon Valley Business Journal” author Preeti Upadhyaya is one of these people. She says what bothers her about the look of Glass is the geeky, upper-class attitude that the $1,500 device connotes when a person wears it.
The designer startup, Sourcebits, simply “felt that the design [of Glass] was lacking”. And so it is this new company that has decided to enhance the style of Glass with their own version, integrating it with stylized frames. However, if anyone’s looking for a less geeky appearance, they may not find it as soon as they would like, at least not at this stage of Sourcebits’ project. The company’s web page displays photos of the frames which are thick and black and so has been associated with the typical nerd. (Much like what your Examiner wears minus the Glass.) But Sourcebits’ integration is ingenious. According to the photos, the make-up of the frames is this: the camera is on the upper right corner of the frames, the Glass Prism in the inside upper right corner (the side that the right-hand side prescription lens goes in), memory storage toward the back end of the right side frame handle, and the battery compartment and battery status indicator (a set of blue digital bars) toward the back end of the left handle. Though Fastcompany.com says that the frames have no affiliation at all with Google, surprisingly Google’s name is printed on the inside of the right handle, according to Sourcebits’ photos.
But Sourcebits isn’t the only company that’s taking advantage of the opportunity to make integrations to Glass. Another startup is campaigning through Indiegogo for funding for its GlassUp. As a response to potential privacy violation with Google+’s Hangout feature on Glass, GlassUp was designed not to include a camera, according to Techcrunch. Surprisingly, however, their campaign page offers a “camera version” though the description says very little about uses of a camera.) But, as with Sourcebits, GlassUp is also offering stylized frames for its customers.
With stylized frames for Glass and its knock-offs like GlassUp, the device will hardly be noticeable on the wearers and so will the corrective lenses for those who wear them. And so if as many people purchase and utilize the device with stylized frames as ones have purchased smartphones and tablets, wearing “glasses” may no longer be considered the nerdy thing but just the opposite: the cool thing!
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