independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Google unveils four prescription frames for Glass

Google has bought DeepMind Technologies Ltd. Model wears Google Glass
Google has bought DeepMind Technologies Ltd. Model wears Google Glass

Google has launched a range of four frames for use with its wearable computer that can accept prescription lenses, addressing the main complaint made by "Glass Explorers".

The “Titanium Collection” of frames includes four designs: Bold, Curve, Thin and Split. Each one costs $225 (£136) but customers will need to have a Glass to attach to them. The device is not yet on public sale, but is on an expanding trial program which people can pay $1,500 to join.

Customers will also need to gettheir own prescription lenses fitted at an optician, as the frames will ship with clear lenses. This means that the total cost will be a steep $1,725 plus the optician's charge.

Google advises that the Glass unit is removed from the frames and kept safe while the frames are left with the optician. Although the new designs are designed specifically for corrective lenses, those with extreme prescriptions outside of +4 or -4 will not be able to get their lenses fitted to the thin frames.

The company has also launched a range of tinted clip-ons which cost an additional $150. The original Glass – which does not feature lenses at all - will remain on sale in five different colours.

Steve Lee, Glass product director at Google, told CNET: "We think they'll accommodate most people's tastes,” but added that the company hopes third parties will begin to design their own compatible frames.

Lee said that all four of the Titanium Collection designs were created in-house at Google but are being manufactured in Japan. The clip-on shades are made by Hawaii-based sunglasses manufacturer Maui Jim.

Google is facing a challenge in making Glass socially acceptable, something which these more traditional frames will have been designed to address. Last week a man and his wife were told to leave an Ohio cinema during a film because he was wearing the device.

The customer was ordered to leave by a policeman who removed the Glass from his face, before reportedly questioning him for several hours. They claimed he was attempting to illegally record the film, although the man invited them to check the Glass to prove he had not.

He claimed to have been using them because they had prescription lenses, which Google later said was not an official product, showing that some users had already worked on creating their own solution to the problem of corrective lenses.

The unnamed man said: "I kept telling them that I wasn’t recording anything – my Glass was off, they insisted they saw it on. I told them there would be a light coming out the little screen if Glass was on, and I could show them that, but they insisted that I cannot touch my Glass for the fear ‘I will erase the evidence against me that was on Glass’.”

Telegraph.co.uk

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