Who says smart glasses have to be fugly and produced by Google?
Today the startup debuted its new “fashion-friendly” smart glasses Icis, which VentureBeat first took a look at back in November, via an Indiegogo campaign. While the startup initially offered a beta version of Icis for $200 on its website, today’s campaign is geared more towards those who would like to help the Laforge Optical team test the product and develop new applications for Icis.
“We really wanted to make sure the product that debuts next year isn’t lacking, so we’ve opened up our process to other developers,” Laforge Optical CEO Corey Mack told VentureBeat.
The glasses look much like regular trendy glasses found resting on hipster noses everywhere, but that could change when Icis officially goes on sale to the public, Mack said. The biggest difference between these “smartspecs” and Google Glass is that Icis features prescription lenses — meaning you won’t need to attach something to your regular glasses (or sacrifice perfect vision) just to get all the benefits of a hands-free mobile device. The process, Mack told me, will be similar to how eyewear designer Warby Parker’s — where you’ll get a set of “dumb” frames to try on before making a final decision. And once you’ve selected your perfect frames, you’ll send over your prescription via an optometrist (or whatever is required based on your region). Laforge will then send you over the finished product.
Laforge states that the Icis glasses, which have a 6-hour battery life, focuses on making your eyewear a central hub for notifications that you’d typically get on your smartphone via a new SocialFlo mobile app. That includes simple notifications like text messages and Twitter mentions as well as more complex notifications such as turn-based directions from a map app. But a premium version of the glasses (Icis Bold) also feature a camera, microphone, and speaker — putting it at least on par with Google Glass.
(And also unlike Google Glass, the Icis specs seem far closer to making Spider Jerusalem’s glasses a reality).
The Indiegogo campaign has already raised just under $5,000 of its $80,000 goal with 30 days left to complete it. Funding perks include Icis beta kits, NFC quick tags, and the option of designing your own Icis frames for $6,000.
Check out the video below for a closer look at the Icis specs.