All previous attempts to create gimmicky glasses have failed; Google Glass, Snapchat Spectacles – none of them have caught on. But Bose thinks that it can buck the trend with its new augmented reality sunglasses.
What makes the Bose glasses different from the others? Their assistance is audio instead of visual. Plus, they don’t have a camera. Additionally, they just look like a normal pair of sunglasses; they aren’t trying to be gimmicky.
The glasses have directional speakers built into the stems, which allow you to play music earbud-free.
Using GPS from your paired smartphone, combined with motion-sensor technology, the glasses can detect what you are looking at. You can double-tap either side of the glasses to get information about what you’re looking at – whether that’s yelp reviews for a bar, or historical information for a monument.
The glasses can also recognize head movements and use them to select items on a carousel menu, as well as answer or reject calls.
John Gordon, vice president of the Consumer Electronics Division at Bose, says of the new product:
Bose AR represents a new kind of augmented reality, one that’s made for anyone and every day. It places audio in your surroundings, not digital images, so you can focus on the amazing world around you — rather than a tiny display. It knows which way you’re facing, and can instantly connect that place and time with endless possibilities for travel, learning, music and more. And it can be added to products and apps we already use and love, removing some of the big obstacles that have kept AR on the sidelines.
Bose is partnering with ASICS Studio, Strave, TripAdvisor, TuneIn, and Yelp to build out the AR into a platform, but they may need more companies to get on board for the product to be a success. However, the fact the audio AR has never been tried before may give them an edge over previous products such as Google Glass. In a way, it decreases the creepy factor that often comes with other AR products.
Bose debuted a prototype at the SXSW conference this past weekend. Pricing details have not yet been announced, but Bose will have a limited release of the product this summer.