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Smart sunglasses: The most natural looking yet?

Posted by James on 5th Apr 2015

At last, smart sunglasses that non-geeks may want to wear! That’s something I thought I wouldn’t be writing for another couple of years, at least.

Allow me to explain.

The challenge with smart sunglasses

As regular readers will know, I am a keen advocate of so-called smart glasses or sunglasses. In brief, smart glasses are digital enabled eyewear, which can send and receive various types of information. Maybe the best known to date were those made by Google. 

However, until now, these wearable devices have had one major drawback. They tend to look bulky, geeky or both. Indeed, at the time of writing this, Google has taken it’s Google Glass smart glasses off the market due to a lack of interest outside the tech community.

Smart sunglasses that look like regular sunglasses

News reached me today of a new type of smart glasses called Jin’s MeMe, made by Jin Co Ltd, in Japan. As you can see from the above image, their sunglasses look very similar to regular designer sunglasses, with just a tiny sensor on the bridge. 2 additional sensors are placed on the arm of the glasses, behind the ears. The regular eyewear version of Jin’s MeMe look equally like typical glasses.

So, how come these sunglasses and glasses look just like regular eyewear? 

The answer is that unlike other smart glasses, the Jin’s MeMe device is focused on the person wearing the glasses — rather than the world around them. The “MeMe” part of the name is short for "Inner Me and outer Me".

Smart sunglasses with a different focus

Other smart glasses to date have almost all contained a camera, so the owner can record video and shoot photos. These cameras, no matter how well designed, mean that the smart glasses need to contain a camera lens at the front. This has added “bulk” to the front of the frame. In addition, because cameras require power in order to work, additional space has been taken up with batteries that are big enough to power the cameras. 

Many smart glasses also have a system built in to project information to the inner lens of the glasses. All that technology adds to the size and weight of the device.

Jin’s MeMe smart glasses do not contain a camera or a heads-up display. They are designed to record the person wearing them. This means there are fewer components to fit into the frames, allowing the design to look a lot more natural.

Sensors record information such as; the number of calories burned, the distance the wearer has travelled and whether they are tired, etc. The data is then synchronized with your smartphone and allows you to track your fitness. 

Whilst not as full-featured as some of the other smart glasses out there, wearers of this device are likely to attract a lot less unwanted attention. With many consumers choosing not to wear smart glasses because of their geeky look, Jin’s MeMe may have a ready made market for it’s nicely designed, unobtrusive devices.

And finally folks

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Photo credit: Jin Co Ltd