Google Glass: Prescription frames introduced to prep the technology for primetime

The technology may not be available yet in the UK, but Google are keen to normalise Glass - launching a new range of stylish, all-titanium frames

A major barrier for the mainstream adoption of Google Glass will be how geeky the technology looks. Google’s wearable computer may be considered chic by the tech-savvy of Silicon Valley but to the average consumer they look awkward and almost embarrassingly futuristic.

Now, as part of their on-going effort to normalise Glass, Google has launched a series of prescription spectacles in the US market (the only place the technology is on sale) that are firmly pitched towards the more fashionable end of the market.

Users will be able to buy the frames from Google for $225 a pop (Glass itself costs an additional $1,500) and simply bolt on the tiny screen, 16GB of memory and on-board computer that comprise the technology. Potential users will have to go elsewhere for their lenses though as Google says they won’t be performing eye tests or grinding glass themselves.

In typical simplify-and-consolidate fashion, Google says they have studied the glasses market and distilled the vast variety of frames down to just four, archetypal designs: Bold, Curve, Thin and Split.

This quartet makes up the newly-launched ‘Titanium Collection’, and although the designs feel like they’re leaning towards a twenty-something-graphic-designer stereotype, they do look attractive and entirely inoffensive. Exactly what Google needs.

From left to right and top to bottom: Bold, Curve, Thin, Split designs.

So far, Glass is only in the hands of an enthusiastic and well-heeled minority (the 8,000 or so individuals who have currently signed up for the ‘Explorer program’) but reaction to the technology has been widespread and decidedly mixed.

Besides the privacy implications raised by Glass (critics often note that the on-board camera could be used to covertly snap videos and photos) there’s also been a sizeable backlash against the cultural impact of the device.

Even before Glass was released to developers in February last year the term ‘glasshole’ was pre-emptively coined to define the sort of over-paid and oblivious individual that might adopt the technology Businessmen talking self-importantly into their Bluetooth headsets in a crowded street is bad enough; asking a computer on your face to give you directions to the nearest artisan bakery was a step too far.

Apart from these cultural assumptions, Google will also have to navigate the uncharted legislative waters surrounding Glass. Already this year there have been two incidents in which Glass users have been detained by law-enforcement for wearing the technology at the wrong time – the first occurred at a cinema, and the second whilst driving. Both individuals were eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.

These new frames are a clear step forward to integrating Glass successfully into the society outside a tech-elite. By selling prescription glasses Google are saying that their technology isn’t an optional extra - they want it to become part of your everyday life. Short-sighted people don’t forget their glasses in the morning and Google wants users to feel the same way about Glass.

Read more:

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Junior IT Support Technician

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Junior IT Support Technician ...

    Recruitment Genius: ASP.NET Developer / Programmer - SQL, MVC, C#

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This distributor and wholesaler...

    Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - Bedfordshire - £30,000 + Excellent package

    £28000 - £30000 per annum + Bonus, Pension, 25days hol, PHC +: Ashdown Group: ...

    Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Credit Controller

    £20000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful candidate will h...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot