Augmented reality glasses bring smartphone functions to life

There’s been a lot of impressive augmented reality (AR) technology in the last couple of years. But in a world of clumsy headgear, style should be considered a feature. No matter how appealing it might be to have access to a computer overlay on the real world, AR technology is going to be a tough sell if it makes you look like a total dweeb. That’s what motivated Charles Sun to develop augmented reality glasses that look… like glasses.

Back in 2015, Charles began developing smart glasses that could pass for Ray-Bans. A year later he founded Human Capable Inc., and by 2019 he had a prototype of his new Norm Glasses, which he brought to this year’s CES. There the AR glasses were awarded a 2019 Innovation Award.

Norm Glasses by Human Capable Inc.

AR glasses: Welcome to the new Norm

All of the components are embedded discreetly inside the lightweight frames, including CPU, memory, storage, battery, speakers, microphones, camera, and an optical system that can display digital information in the user’s field of view. Unlike traditional augmented reality glasses, the Norm Glasses offer a way to stay in touch with the digital world while being hands-free and more engaged with your surroundings. By focusing on sleekness, Human Capable Inc. managed to make what it says is the lightest among all smart glasses with a display. In fact, they’re even lighter than many audio-only smart glasses.

Augmented reality glasses pair with your smartphone

The AR glasses pairs via Bluetooth to your smartphone and uses the lenses as two portable heads-up displays. Think Pokémon Go. With them, you can: make and receive calls; send and read text messages; take pictures; answer emails; use navigation; listen to music, and more. And a lot of these tasks can be completed by using voice commands, touching the frame, or gesturing your head a certain way.

The augmented reality glasses actually function as glasses should, too. Users can even have prescription lenses added at any eyewear store. The frames come in three sizes and will cost about US$375. They’re currently taking pre-orders through a Kickstarter campaign, where a pledge will get you a pair of Norm Glasses and a carrying case. Choose from tinted, transition, polarized, or clear frames.