Bose Teases Sonic AR Glasses That Narrate the World

Remember the Oakley Thumps? Aka, sunglasses that could play music? A novel idea … and an unsuccessful one. The Thumps were crazy expensive, super clunky and most famous for Manny Ramirez using ‘em to handle boredom out in left field.

A decade and change later, sunglasses and audio are staging a promising comeback. To wit: Bose just made waves at Austin’s SxSW with Bose AR, its prototype for a pair of sonic augmented-reality glasses. Rather than going inside the ear canal, the 3D-printed model rests just in front of it, offering the same high-quality sound we’ve come to expect from America’s authority on all things acoustic.

These sunglasses do more than play tunes, though. Bose also embedded the glasses with motion sensors that can be programmed to activate “audio information.” Think of it as an auditory version of Magic Leap’s much ballyhooed augmented-reality glasses: with the help of a smartphone and a little GPS magic, the glasses will be able to do things like deliver quick restaurant reviews or double as a historical docent in a museum … and all you have to do is glance at a venue or object.

How will it work? Bose has been partering with companies like ASICS Studio, Strava, TripAdvisor, TuneIn and Yelp, all of whom could help build out a content library for Bose’s AR experience.

Keep up with updates and planned released dates here. And if this just reminded you you’ve always wanted to pick up a pair of Oakley Thumps, well, there’s a website called EBay that can probably help out.

Images: Raymond Wong / Mashable