When I was a kid, my parents used to have me read road signs from far away just to marvel at how well I could see. It was a gift.
If it makes you feel better, I’ve always had a terrible sense of smell and seem to be going deaf in my forties. That said, I still can read tiny things from far away.
If I couldn’t, I would buy the Laforge Infinite Loop style frames, which come with Shima augmented reality (AR) lenses so I wouldn’t have to read signs.
LaForge’s brand spanking new AR glasses are an amazing first foray into wearables technology from a smart company.
They work just as we want AR technology to work, seamless integrating into our life. Not only that but they are stylish and pack some sweet tech under the hood.
Funny that the first thing that comes to mind is Geordie LaForge, the character on Star Trek’s Next Generation TV show, who sported a very hip AR visor. Sure, Geordie’s visor looked like a banana hair clip than glasses, but it made for some sweet augmented reality.
The Shima technology from this LaForge won’t detect heat signatures or leaks, but they will help you not get lost. Shima facilitates communicating information to you from your smartphone.
Information like where you are, how fast you are going, and your direction are visible on a head’s up display (HUD), just like in science fiction movies.
Shima will also send you notifications so you can stop looking at your phone all the time.
How they work
Inside the lenses of your LaForge Shima lenses is a tiny chip. You can barely see the chip, but you won’t miss the HUD in your lenses.
The HUD displays info from your phone. Widgets approved by LaForge manage said info.
There are limitations. You can’t, for example, send video to your lenses. They’re not designed that way.
LaForge designed Shima to look like normal glasses. This is not a repurposed Google Glass technology. The HUD is in your normal field of view, so your eyes don’t have to abandon your field of view just to read a screen.
You have four frames from which to choose. LaForge just needs your prescription to manufacture your unique pair.
When you wear your new glasses, nobody will know you have access to more information than what they see. They’ll just see someone wearing some stylish glasses.
This is exactly the reality of wearables we’re always going on about. You won’t even know you’re wearing a wearable, not in the technological sense.
There’s a price to pay for beauty. It’s weight. The Shima line can weigh between 24 and 27 grams, which is heavy for most modern glasses.
They are rain and sweat proof, though, so you can run with them. The HUD is not constantly on, only when you receive a notification or when you touch the touchpad.
They will last about 18 hours on one charge, so a regular day of use. You only need 30 minutes to recharge them.
Here’s the exciting part, the Beta generation (Beta Bold to be precise) of this technology will include a camera. Nobody will even know it.
While you cannot yet buy these in eyewear stores, you can buy them direct from LaForge.
They have the option to do an online eye test if you like, but for my money I’d rather get my test done the old fashioned way, ironically. The little I know about eye exams is there is plenty of margin for error. Better to have a trained practitioner there, live.
You can use the Shima technology with Windows Mobile, iOS, and Android devices. That’s pretty rad. in fact, the only bad news I could find about these is they don’t yet offer bifocals.
I was thrilled to learn you don’t actually need to need vision correction to wear these. You do have to accept name-calling, like “four-eyes,” which is tolerable. It could be the best $590 you’ve ever spent.