New smart glass combines health sensor technology with good design

31 August 2016
US health care company VSP (vision care) is working on smart glasses that collect consumer health data. Together with the University of Southern California its innovation centre The Shop has announced a prototype called Level. The smart glass is based upon another, earlier prototype developed in Project Genesis. VSP will now start a major academic study and consumer pilot test with the Level.

VSP Global’s innovation lab, The Shop, debuted an early version of the prototype in 2015 as Project Genesis—the first wearable to seamlessly integrate health-tracking technology into the temple of an optical frame. A partnership with USC CBC followed soon after to harness the CBC’s multidisciplinary experts in digital health technology and to collaborate with The Shop on engineering future versions of the frame and platform.

Even though the Level is also a prototype, the design is already much more refined. The glasses ass shown by VSP appear like normal glasses, unlike the Google Glass. These tech embedded glasses by Google are now mostly used for business purposes, like during surgeries. VSP says a normal design is needed if people want to wear a smart glass like the Level.

The pilot study launches this month with USC employees and will be managed by USC CBC in partnership with USC Roski Eye Institute. Participants will receive a Level frame and accompanying smartphone app that will allow them to track their activity. The app will also sync with the VSP Global’s Eyes of Hope® initiative. Participants will accrue points in the app for reaching daily step goals. Once a certain number of points are achieved, that user will automatically trigger the donation of a comprehensive eye exam and a pair of glasses to someone in need.

Though still in prototype mode, the technology embedded within the Level frames—including a gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer—will track a wearer’s steps, calories burned, and activity time. Users will even be able to locate misplaced frames through the app’s “Find My Glasses” feature.
The frames were developed by The Shop’s team of industrial designers, engineers and color specialists. Each of the three unisex styles come in a number of modern colorways and are named after some of history’s greatest innovators, including Nikola Tesla, Marvin Minsky and Hedy Lamarr.