These Smart Glasses Look Good Enough To Wear All the Time
VSP Global is the largest vision healthcare company on the planet, with over 88 million members. Its innovation wing, The Shop, is where its creative team of designers and biomedical engineers have free rein to create products that push future eyewear technologies to the limit. In the past, they’ve collaborated with Google on Google Glass and with Nike and Zeiss Optics on The Wing, a pair of really aerodynamic (and expensive) glasses for Olympic-level sprinters. I’ve been testing one of their latest innovations, Level, which is a wearable fitness tracker that doesn’t look like a typical wearable fitness tracker – Level looks like a nice, normal pair of eyeglasses.
Marchon, owned by VSP Global, is one of the world’s biggest eyewear manufacturers, and Level glasses are designed in the same factories with the same detail and fine materials as the company’s Italian-made glasses. What sets Level apart is that in one of its arms are housed a suite of sensors and tech: gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, Bluetooth and battery. (The other arm is weighted to evenly balance the frames.) The frames aren’t designed to be an advanced fitness tracker, like an Apple Watch. There’s no built-in GPS or heart-rate sensors; instead, Level is more of a wellness tracker. It can track your steps, distance traveled, overall active minutes and even how many calories you burn throughout the day. The companion app can send you push notifications to encourage you to walk more to reach your step goals and earn more points. Yes, points. They are what make Level more unique than its competition.
Each day wearers can earn a maximum of two points if they achieve both their daily steps goal and daily stretch goal. When they reach 50 total points, VSP Global, which operates the charitable programs known as Eyes of Hope, will give a free comprehensive eye exam and a pair of eyeglasses (if needed) to a person-in-need: either a veteran, a person affected by homelessness, a child or an elderly person. In the Level app, you select which group of people you want to help by achieving your fitness goals. The thinking behind this, beyond pure altruism, is that some people can’t motivate themselves to be active; however, if they know that they could also help somebody else by being active, that might provide extra incentive.