Would you wear tech on your face? That is a bet that Intel is willing to take with its new Vaunt glasses, which aim to bring you information about the world in as direct a manner as possible–straight into your eyes. Essentially, the glasses work by using a safe laser to project information onto a holographic mirror, which then reflects directly through your eyeball and onto your retina as a kind of heads up display (HUD). This technology is called retinal projection; the information is “painted” onto the back of your retina. Because of the way this projection works, each pair of glasses must be individually fitted so that the laser is calibrated to focus on your eye. By using retinal projection, the image is clearly seen in the lower right visual field of the wearer but is invisible to an outside observer. Intel also wanted the Vaunt to be unobtrusive. If you are not looking slightly down at the display, the image completely disappears, leaving you with an unobstructed, uncluttered view of your surroundings.
These glasses are meant to be sleek and discreet. The glasses themselves just look like normal, plastic-framed eyewear; and they even work with regular glasses prescriptions. These glasses are designed to be very simple. There’s no swiping or hand motions. You simply look down if you want to read a notification or look the opposite way to dismiss. Perhaps most importantly, they’re comfortable to wear all day, weighing little more than a standard pair of glasses. Because they look like normal glasses and the HUD is invisible to bystanders, no one would necessarily know you were wearing smart glasses at all.
Far from showing you an endless roll of tweets and Instagram likes, Intel hopes that the Vaunt glasses will allow you to interact with your environment in a new, intelligent way using the Vaunt’s AI. In addition to its laser, the Vaunt also contains Bluetooth, an app processor, a projected 18 hours worth of battery, and sensors that allow it to know when you turn your head so it can guess what you’re looking at. They hope that this hardware will allow the Vaunt to do a wide variety of things, such as showing you directions to your destination after you parked your car or showing you which of two restaurants you are looking at has a better Yelp review. The possibilities are truly endless.
These glasses will soon be available through early access to independent developers who will find even more unique uses for the glasses. They will be compatible with both iPhones as well as Android devices, and they will likely be found wherever regular glasses are sold–like your local eyecare provider. Augmented reality is no longer just for video games and taking funny pictures, but could become a part of grocery shopping, walking through a new city, or cooking dinner at home. Contextually relevant, concise information is just a glance away.
Thoughts From Future Teachers
Future teachers appear to be split as to whether or not they could imagine themselves wearing smart glasses. About two-thirds were unsure, while the remaining third were split between those for and against the Vaunt glasses.
While they were not sure whether or not they themselves would feel comfortable wearing smart glasses, future teachers appeared to be more accepting of others wearing them. About two-thirds of those surveyed responded that they would be comfortable with others wearing smart glasses in social places, while the remaining third remained unsure. No respondent reported that they would be definitely uncomfortable with others wearing smart glasses.
When asked what benefits they would see from glasses of this type, future teachers responded by pointing out that it would make information more accessible and that it would allow one to appear less rude by checking notifications in social situations. Maggie pointed out, “I would have better options based on the information provided from the glasses, so decision making will be a lot easier and quicker.” Some respondents also noted improved driver safety, like Tyara, who commented, “Well, if the glasses show you notifications like an iPhone, and you were driving, I think it would cause less wrecks because you wouldn’t have to look down at your phone.”
When asked about specific benefits that these glasses may have in the classroom, many future teachers were concerned about the glasses being more of a distraction that a helpful learning tool. Some respondents did think of some potential classroom uses, however. For example, Caroline mentioned that the glass could help with “reminders of homework or classwork due. [They could help with] Not having to ask the teacher for certain things, the glasses will just show you what to do.” Taira suggested, “The glasses could be used by a student or a professor when giving a lecture or a presentation in the way that the words are displayed in the glasses so they can keep their eyes on the class and do not have to rely on memorization.”
Vaunt glasses were built to be discreet, but not all wearable tech is. This article in Digital Trends highlights some novel, revolutionary, and at times downright strange-looking, wearable tech.
While Google Glasses, a predecessor to the Vaunt, never took off as many had hoped they would, many teachers were already talking about ways to incorporate smart glasses in the classroom.
Moverio smart glasses have already been used in creative assignments for elementary school children in Japan.
Bohn, D. (2018, Feb. 5). Intel made smart glasses that look normal. The Verge. Retrieved from https://www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2018/2/5/16966530/intel-vaunt-smart-glasses-announced-ar-video
Dormehl, L. (2018, Feb. 6). The weirdest, wildest, and most wonderful wearables in the world. Digital Trends. Retrieved from https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/9-awesome-wearable-devices/
Epson Corporation. (2016, Aug. 1). Elementary school students use Moverio smart glasses as class communication tool. Retrieved from https://global.epson.com/innovation/topics/201608_01.html
Rauschnabel, P. (2015, Aug. 8). Student projects: Value creation with smart glasses. Retrieved from http://www.philipprauschnabel.com/2015/08/smart-glasses-in-the-classroom-my-experiences/
Special acknowledgement is also given to the Teacher Education Students at the University of Memphis who provided survey data.