Ever since Google first announced its Google Glass project back in 2012, the topic of smart eyewear has generated a huge amount of debate around whether smart glasses will or will not become the pinnacle of wearable technology.
Google got in there early with its pioneering product, but is now beginning to face some serious competition, none more so than France-based firm Optinvent which has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for its own smart glasses.
Eager to learn more about this potential Google Glass killer, we spoke to Optinvent CEO and co-founder Kayvan Mirza, a veteran of the consumer electronics industry who likens the product to "a tablet that you wear on your face."
There are actually two types on offer; the developer version, dubbed the ORA-1 and the consumer version called the ORA-X. The ORA-1 is the main focus of the campaign and the first feature that stands out is the price. Costing just $599 (£370) the ORA-1 is around a third of the price of Google Glass and is described by Mirza as "the most affordable device out there for app developers and enterprise customers."
It features a position sensor, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS connectivity, an ambient light sensor and basically "everything you need to build apps with."
The ORA-X also well and truly destroys the competition on the price front, costing just $299 (£180) which is around a third of the price of the cheapest iPhone 6 model. The X features a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, a 9-axis motion sensor, a track-pad and wireless connectivity.
But that's not all. What really sets the ORA devices apart is the "Flip-Vu" dual-mode display, which is optimised for augmented reality and provides a significantly bigger display than any of its competitors.
Mirza said, "Rather than positioning the display above your eye so you have to turn your eye to look at it, which isn't very comfortable, we have 2 positions; one is directly in front, right in your field of view, which is great for doing augmented reality type stuff. We can also position it directly below your field of view, which is again much more comfortable than looking up."
The technology in the display, including the patented moulded plastic design, is something that Optinvent has been working on since 2008 and has helped to put the firm in a very strong position going forward.
However, the issue of adoption still needs to be solved. Mirza believes that, although there are some barriers to hurdle, it won't take long for smart glasses to become mainstream: "It's not going to happen overnight. Apps need to exist, people need to find that it's useful because, there's a constraint at the end of the day, especially for people who don't wear glasses and now they've got to put something on their face."
"But once they start becoming more commonplace in the workplace and in the prosumer arena etc. and people start seeing that these things are actually useful, I think you'll see it going very quickly. The million dollar question is when, but everything's pointing towards sooner rather than later."