Since Google first unveiled its Glass project almost two years ago now, there have been no shortage of imitators, and Laforge’s Icis is another project in that vein – one which is relying on crowdfunding to be realised.
The Icis is an Indiegogo project which is, essentially, a more fashion-friendly version of Google Glass – and there are obvious reasons for taking this line.
Not everyone wants their wearables to make them look like geeks, and Glass – despite recent refinements on the aesthetics front – still has that “Borg” Star Trek vibe going on, and still draws stares.
Laforge’s Icis smart glasses (we’ll ignore the fact that the company name Laforge also has an ironic Star Trek vibe going on) are being designed with the look and fashion appeal in mind, as much as the technological side of the equation, ZDNet reports.
Laforge believes that focusing on just the techy stuff is a mistake, and wider market appeal will be achieved by a product that provides a diverse range of frame styles and looks – just like real glasses, of course. And the firm has a point.
This is very similar to that other major wearable innovation, the smartwatch. Current models such as the chunky and geeky looking Galaxy Gear have done badly – whereas Pebble is looking more towards a slick aesthetic with its new Pebble Steel. The real kicker will be when (well, if) Apple brings out the iWatch – you can expect its design chops to be something to admire and aspire to. That’s Cupertino’s recipe for premium pricing, of course.
Back to the smart glasses, and Icis hopes to do the fashion thing while still maintaining full functionality in terms of the interface, apps and so forth.
One major difference compared to Google Glass will be the fact that instead of having a small screen in just one corner of your vision, Icis will display its interface all around the sides of your field of vision.
The smart glasses will do everything you’d expect, from pushing notifications from your phone, to delivering turn-by-turn navigation instructions, and snapping photos with its on board camera. As well as the camera, just like Glass Icis will come with a microphone for voice commands (and if Laforge can make talking to your glasses in public trendy and fashionable, they really will have won).
Laforge plans to enable users to make any existing smartphone app into a widget which can be displayed by Icis.
Icis will support Android, iOS and Windows Phone handsets, and has currently scooped $10,000 (£6,000) in funding, with a total of $80,000 (£48,000) needed.
You can pre-reserve your Icis (the Bold model) for a £280 pledge (including International shipping), with an estimated delivery date of January 2015.