NEW YORK – North, a young technology company, introduced its new smart glasses, Focals, here at Vision Expo East.
North chief marketing officer Adam Ketcheson told Primary Care Optometry News that Focals are “everyday smart glasses” intended to be a useful tool to help the wearer stay connected discreetly.
Alexander Ingram, head of communications for North, said Focals look like regular glasses but they are connected to your calendar, texts, Uber, navigation and other services.
Focals are not designed for gaming or augmented or virtual reality, Ketcheson said.
The wearer sees a small holographic image in one of the spectacle lenses and controls the view from a toggle on a “loop,” which looks like a ring worn on a finger. The frame contains the software, which will be updated weekly, and a speaker. The Bluetooth glasses and loop are stored in a charging case.
The company says on its website that technology is often seen as a distraction, and their goal is to make it “human-centric, discreetly built into fundamental parts of our lives that already exist.”
Ketcheson said the frames are customized for each wearer. At this point one frame style is available in three colors; he said more will be available by the end of the year.
Focals co-founder and CEO Stephen Lake told PCON that the glasses are available with single vision customized lenses ranging from +2 D to -4 D, with cylinder, and come with antireflective coating and scratch resistance.
Lake explained that the Focals team came to Vision Expo East to introduce the product to the industry and seek out partners for distribution. He said the team is investigating how the product will fit into the industry. Focals currently has two stores: one in Brooklyn, N.Y., and one in Toronto.
The company is targeting people who are already wearing glasses, he said.
Ingram noted that the first glasses started shipping a few weeks ago. – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO
Disclosures: Ingram, Ketcheson and Lake are employed by North.