Google Glass is not the only type of augmented reality eyewear preparing to break into the market. In the race, there is also an Italian start-up – from Venice, to be precise – called GlassUp. They too are working on a smartglasses model that will be capable of displaying messages and information in real time on the lens. At this time, a $150,000 crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo (until August 30) is about to end.
Unlike the Google model, the Italian prototype works in synchronization with a Smartphone via Bluetooth, so it is also possible to develop third party apps and dedicated services. The GlassUp functions are less invasive than the American competitor’s: the basic model does not have the video camera and is only used to display information in private mode. In short, it is an extension of the smartphone’s screen within the user’s view.
Behind GlassUp is a great effort that combines optical and electronic technologies (see the possibility of requesting prescription lenses), but unfortunately there is no lack of difficulties. Of all of these, two regard the temporary blocking of funds on PayPal and the dispute with Google over the registered trademark. However, the Italian team is not giving up, and the words of CEO Francesco Giartosio are more than optimistic:
“The day we have seen now the prototype work, you cannot imagine the feeling. The attached image represents that moment. After two years hoping the theory was right, we were in tears. Since then, the rest is downhill: we are working on the version for prescription glasses, the camera version, a new and beautiful design is almost ready, we are releasing the APIs, we should be able to run on Windows too, and hundreds of developers are waiting to be able to play with the simulator”.