Amazon-Backed Smart glasses Startup Raises $130 Million
Amazon-backed startup, North, has raised over a whopping US$130 million, to launch a pair of ‘wearable’ smart glasses named ‘Focal’. The smart glasses retail for US$1,000, with investors including Intel and other venture capitalists.
Focal glasses overlay a series of useful information onto lenses, which only the wearer can see including; text message alerts, GPS turn-by-turn directions, weather and more.
North asserts Focal does not seek to provide a full augmented reality experience, instead be wearable enough for daily life.
Focal seeks to further the global smart glasses market, taking over from Google’s failed Google Glass foray, which was criticised for a space-age design.
Instead of looking down at a users’ phone, the glasses display useful information to their lenses, whilst also featuring built-in Amazon Alexa.
Concerning usability, the smart glasses are controllable via a finger-worn ring called ‘Loop’.
Speaking to Business Insider, Thalmic Labs [North] CEO, Stephen Lake, asserts “it’s wearable, it’s comfortable, and give[s] valuable bits of information that make sense at the time.”
The glasses come in two different frames, and three colours. Like Snapchat’s smart spectacles, Focal comes with a portable charging case.
Unfortunately for international customers, Focal glasses require an appointment at either its Brooklyn or Toronto showroom, to custom-design the spectacles to a users’ face.
The ‘Classic’ frame version is expected to be release by the end of the year, with round frame or prescription lens versions shipping 2019.