That friend who complains that you’re always staring down at your screen? Well, they probably won’t love this, but at least it’ll restore a little eye contact.
Focals are a new pair of smart glasses from North (formerly Thalmic Labs and the the creators of the hands-free armband controller Myo) that will hopefully avoid the pitfalls of the awkwardly constructed Google Glasses, as well as the “beaming information onto your retina” aspect of other, now shuttered competitors.
For one, these look pretty much like normal specs. They use fairly traditional eyewear frames, albeit on the chunkier side, and there’s “no camera on these bad boys,” as the company’s product manager notes, so the creep factor is largely removed.
What you’re getting instead is something like an Apple Watch for your eyes; here, holographic information sourced from your smartphone is beamed onto your eyewear display, where only you can see it.
That info includes navigation in your line of sight, texting (and voice-to-text) capabilities, built-in Alexa and assorted calendar/weather options. Besides voice, you interact with your eyewear via Loop, a small, four-directional, clickable joystick ring. The glasses also come with a battery/phone case to ensure you’ll be powered through the day.
For now, Focals (starting at $999) are only available in North showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto, where the glasses need to be custom sized. The angular Classic variation ships in December, while the Focals Round ship early next year.
Look out for ’em — unlike their forebears, they might actually be hard to miss.
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