Smart glasses are for nerds. They look goofy, and they’re incredibly expensive, and it’s not clear what the use case is for the average consumer. But not all smart glasses are the same. JINS is a company that is not yet well know in the United States, but it is one of the leading eyeglass makers in Japan. With more than 300 retail stores in Japan and China, the company will be opening its first U.S. store in San Francisco this spring, where it plans to make high-end prescription eye ware while you wait (about 30 minutes) for $60 to $120 a pair, according to a company representative.
At CES 2015, the big news was their JINS MEME glasses. Instead of using them as a way to display information, these glasses instead are a platform for sensors. This lets you rely on your smartphone or other mobile device to handle the expensive display function. The JINS MEME glasses contain accelerometer and gyroscope sensors, as well as an electrooculography (EOG) sensor that can detect eyelid blinks and track eye movement. The glasses communicate data via a Bluetooth LE wireless connection. All of this is packaged in normal-looking glasses, with the electronics and battery packaged in the temple pieces. The company estimates that the glasses will run 16 hours between charges.
One application for this data is to detect driver fatigue. JINS is working with auto parts giant Denso Corporation on systems to alert drivers when they are at risk of getting drowsy, before they put themselves and others at risk. The same sensors can be used to track steps and other exercise data, without the need to wear a separate fitness band. It can also be the basis for a hands-free interface to control devices. JINS is also supporting research in medical applications that could lead to the early diagnosis of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, by tracking eye movements.
The JINS MEME is expected to ship in the fall of 2015.