Informational Eyeglasses

Back in the day, people were just happy if their eyeglasses helped them to see properly. Technical innovations in glasses were more along the lines of bifocals or progressive lenses. Then came sunglasses, which helped people see better in bright light.

Then, of course, people got savvy about the sun and eyeglass manufacturers began to add UV coatings to the lenses of standard eyewear and sunglasses alike. This change protected eyes against sun damage, helping to prevent eye irritation, eye damage and even lowering the risk of cancer.

But now technology is going a step further: Not only can you use your glasses to see information, the glasses themselves have become an information source. The best known innovation in this area is, of course, the Google Glass, which provides you with the time, maps, and even product information as you look through it. But now there’s news of some even more specialized eyewear, designed to assist athletic performance.

Some of these options, according to YNN’s interview with Andrew Karp of Vision Monday Newspaper, include the creation of ski goggles or sunglasses that could provide information about how fast a person was skiing or running.

In fact, at least one company now offers a snap-in attachment that keeps track of a skier’s position, which not only makes cross country skiing easier (no more having to stop to consult a map) but safer, since the skier is less likely to get lost.  The device also tracks the skier’s speed, and offers both smartphone connectivity and a buddy tracking system.

Reading about these sporting innovations got me thinking about what other information I’d like my glasses, or an eyeglass attachment, to provide.

My first thought was that weather information would be particularly useful for athletes and non-athletes alike, along with information about traffic issues (runners, cyclists and walkers may want to avoid traffic jams or accident sites). Another possibility is connecting an eyeglass information attachment to a pedometer or calorie-burning meter via Bluetooth, so wearers could monitor the effectiveness of their workouts.

What sort of information would you like your eyewear to give you?