Julie Tucker
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How Kickstarter funded the world’s first pair of smart glasses

The world’s first pair of smart glasses has been successfully launched, thanks to Kickstarter – the global crowdfunding platform that focuses on creativity and merchandising.

The rapid development of smart technology in recent years emphasises its increasing importance in the consumer market. Smart technology has influenced a host of electrical products. It’s designed to enhance and streamline our lives, enabling products to go above and beyond their primary functions.

During the past few years, many products have been launched in different sectors that have had a huge impact on our lives. The most recognised smart technology is the new wave of mobile phones, but other smart devices are also entering the market – such as VUE smart glasses.

How do smart glasses work?
The VUE glasses offer multiple features that go far beyond what you would expect from a pair of spectacles. They enable the wearer to listen to music, make hands-free calls, tell the time, track activity, listen to navigation and have a “find my glasses” feature. Users get notified of incoming texts by subtle LED notifications.

With wireless charging, the wearer can stream wireless audio via bone conduction speakers. This means the ears are left uncovered, so you can hear normal everyday sounds, while listening to music being sent to the inner ear via vibrations through the surrounding bones – no-one else can hear the music. You can track your steps, distance and calories burned, and get reminders to move if you’re not active enough!

Available as prescription glasses, non-corrective plain spectacles, or sunglasses, the VUE glasses are rain, splash and water-resistant and have convenient touch controls. They look just like normal glasses, right down to the fine lenses and frames. They’re not cumbersome, obvious or uncomfortable to wear – unlike some of their earlier predecessors, which looked more like chunky VR headsets.

 

 

Prices range from $319 to $469, depending on the type of lens required. There are also various special offers for people wishing to buy more than one pair.

How long has it taken to get the final product?
Launching the smart glasses wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Kickstarter. Aaron Rowley, co-founder of VUE, launched the concept on Kickstarter in October 2016. Initially, there was a $50,000 funding goal. The fundraiser exceeded the goal and raised more than $2 million from financial backers.

According to the Kickstarter website, 10,410 backers pledged $2,215,583 to help launch the project. Subsequently, VUE raised a further $1 million through pre-orders. After two years in development, the first smart glasses were ready to roll.

The company said a significant percentage of people who had pre-ordered weren’t prescription glasses wearers. This suggested that people were starting to buy eye-wear as a fashion accessory, rather than because they needed them.

Initial reviews give the VUE smart glasses positive feedback, saying they are completely unlike any other smart glasses, because there’s nothing to see when you put them on and they look like an ordinary pair of specs.

With the audio volume at a normal level, you don’t need to worry about other people hearing what you’re listening to, while the touch controls on the arms of the glasses are easy to use. Tap them to answer phone calls, speak to the smart assistant, or find out how active you’ve been. Tap the right arm and a voice will tell you how many steps you’ve completed during the day.

Kickstarter is based in Brooklyn, New York. Launched in April 2009 by Yancey Strickler, Perry Chen and Charles Adler, it is a crowdfunding platform where money is collected from the public, circumventing traditional avenues of investment.

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© deagreez / Adobe Stock

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