The design firm behind Ray Ban and Oakley eyewear has teamed up with Google in order to make their upcoming ‘Google Glass’ product look as fashionable as possible.
Italian eyewear designers Luxottica, the firm that owns popular brands Ray Ban and Oakley, are looking to create a stylish new collection that combines “high end technology with avant garde design”. They hope this will place them – and new partners Google – firmly at the top of the anticipated “smart eyewear market”.
Luxottica Chief Executive Andrea Guerra says that Google Glass has the potential to “give birth to a new generation of revolutionary devices”.
Google Glass, first announced in 2011, is an augmented reality (AR) headset device that superficially resembles a pair of eyeglasses (although prescriptions will be available as well). The lens includes a small screen above the right eye that allows the user access to applications, the Internet and other functions. It can be operated via voice commands, or by using the small touchpad on the side of the device.
Glass is presently only available via application to Google’s ‘Explorer Program’, an initiative which the project’s website describes as being “for people who want to get involved early and help shape the future of Glass”. At present, it is only available to US residents and it costs $1,500 (roughly £900) to partake. To date, Google has sold more than 10,000 units to these ‘Explorers’.
Last week, the search engine giants unveiled a new version of their Android operating system, specifically made for Glass.
Google Glass’ ability to take photographs and record video has given rise to concerns about privacy. Copyright protection issues were also raised after one Glass user was ordered to leave a cinema.
Critics have also attacked the high pricing and the potential dangers caused by distraction whilst driving or walking down the street. After motorist Cecelia Abadie was issued a ticket for driving, Google began lobbying against proposed anti-Glass legislation, which would make it illegal to use the device whilst driving.
However, Guerra and her colleagues obviously have high hopes for Google Glass. “We believe that a strategic partnership with a leading player like Google is the ideal platform for developing a new way forward in our industry and answering the evolving needs of consumers on a global scale,” She said.
No pricing information for the new glasses has been disclosed at the time of writing.