Smart Glasses That Actually Look Like Eyewear

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If you're hungry for a pair of smart specs but don't want to look like a cyborg, check out Epiphany Eyewear. Created by Vergence Labs, a California-based start-up, the stylish specs feature a thick, black frame made of "shape-memory" nylon, spring hinges and polarized, UV-blocking lenses. They were designed by David Meisenholder, whose portfolio includes Lady Gaga's GL-20 Polaroid video glasses.

Similarly, Epiphany boasts HD video recording with audio, which is controlled by a tactile "on" button on the right temple, and HD live streaming through a compatible tablet to YouGen.TV and Facebook.

"Compared to other smart glasses, we have much better style, smaller electronics, simpler UI–no traditional display, just two buttons and two heads-up indicator lights–and we are the only ones that can live stream to your Facebook wall," Vergence Labs co-founder Jon Rodriguez told Eye2.

Epiphany is powered by a lithium ion battery that can be recharged over USB after one to two hours of video recording, which in normal use of recording short video snippets means about two days of normal use, Rodriguez said.

The frames, currently available in black only, are equipped with a multiple lens stack with a multi-layer AR coating, including a plano front lens that is impact resistant and a 2.00 base lens in the back that can take prescriptions from -2.00D to +2.00. Sandwiched between them is a flat, electrochromic lens that is activated by a small switch at the front of the frame. The speed of activation, from lightly tinted to dark gray, is one millisecond, according to Rodriguez.

"We're marketing this as a sunglass," he said, adding that the lens provides 18 percent light transmission when darkened. "We're working on getting the transparency up, and have figured out a way to make the lens go totally clear. We've proven it in the lab, but we need to create a manufacturing process for it."



Although the current version of the lens can only flip from light to dark and back again, future versions will have the ability for the wearer to adjust the degree of tint they want using an app that controls the voltage.

Currently, Epiphany glasses are only available online. Prices vary according to how much video storage the buyer wants. 8 GB storage costs $299; 16 GB costs $399 and 32GB costs $499.

Future versions of Epiphany will have Internet connectivity, Rodriguez said.