Do you remember the Google Glass project first released to the general public way back in 2013? Despite all the hype, the project never really got off the ground. But it did inspire a number of eyewear companies to partner up with tech enterprises in search of the perfect pair of smart sunglasses. If you are a fan of sunglasses that don’t do anything other than protect your eyes against the sun, no worries. Smart sunglasses will never be the norm.
Today’s smart sunglasses generally come in one of two flavors. The first is the augmented reality flavor that allows a pair of sunglasses to display much of the same kind of information you would look up on your smartphone. You can just speak about your curiosity of local restaurants and wait for them to show up right in front of your eyes.
The other form of smart sunglasses are those that play music just like your phone or MP3 player. They include built-in speakers and either internal storage or Bluetooth technology that connects them to your phone. They can allegedly be used to play hours of music while you are carrying on with the rest of your life.
With all of that said, here are three reasons smart sunglasses will never be the norm:
1. They Are Too Heavy
Adding technology to designer sunglasses comes at a cost. That cost is not just financial, it is also weight-related. Adding electronics and other technology bits significantly increases the weight of a pair of sunglasses. Furthermore, it is weight that sits atop the nose.
Heavy sunglasses cause significant discomfort, according to Utah-based Olympic Eyewear. Excess weight also causes sunglasses to fall off the face under a variety of conditions. That makes smart sunglasses impractical unless you are willing to strap them to your head.
2. Their Usefulness is Limited
Next up, the usefulness of smart sunglasses is limited. Google Glass offers a perfect example of why that’s so. When the first versions of Google Glass came out, there were genuine concerns about the lack of privacy due to their picture-taking capabilities. So public establishments began banning them.
An augmented reality pair is only going to be useful as long as they are not a distraction. That is easier said than done given the fact that so many people cannot seem to unglue their faces from their smartphones. How are they going to carry on with normal life wearing a pair of augmented reality sunglasses?
As for sunglasses that play music, they are not appropriate in quiet or intimate environments. Why? Because they leak sound. That means they will only be usable in busy and loud environments, which means users will ultimately be fighting ambient sounds while listening to their favorite tunes.
3. They Are Too Expensive
Last but not least is cost. If there is one thing we have learned from technology, it is the fact that people are unwilling to spend hundreds of dollars on a new piece of technology unless it offers some real, tangible benefits. Neither augmented reality nor audio equipped sunglasses offer such benefits.
It will not be worth the cost when your typical smartphone can do the same things. Why invest in music-playing sunglasses when earbuds are cheaper? Why spend money on augmented reality when you already spend hours looking at your phone screen?
Smart glasses are definitely fascinating from a technology standpoint. They are also pretty novel. But they will not ever be the norm because they are too heavy, too limited in their usefulness, and too expensive. It is as simple as that.