Smart glasses have yet to find a killer app. Google tried hard with Google Glass but the wearable’s cumbersome geekiness never really had a chance in the consumer market. Current Google Glass applications center on industrial and scientific applications, with the notable exception of Stanford’s Autism Glass project. To date, augmented reality headsets and glasses have the greatest promise for smart glasses application success, especially when they assist people with visual impairments.
While major tech companies and universities explore viable smart glasses apps, Nashville-based electrical engineer and product designer Samson March drew on his varied skill set to create smart glasses that meet a specific personal need. March wasn’t fully enjoying work break walks around his city because he spent so much of his time following directions on smartphone mapping software.
March designed and created the glasses frames and sunglass lenses. He wrote an iPhone app that uses the smartphone’s GPS and mapping function to create route maps for his walks based on his starting location and destination. March also created a custom circuit board that fit in the glasses frames. The app signals the circuit board to flash LED lights in the glasses frames via Bluetooth to indicate upcoming turns and when March reaches his destination.
March described how he created the turn-by-turn direction smart glasses in an Imgur blog post. The post includes a running narrative of his creative process with loads of photos, links to 3D CAD files for the frames and lenses, circuit board schematics and code, the iOS app and code, a bill of materials, and all the information required to recreate his smart glasses.
March’s direction-prompting glasses and the nature of his sharing the process and product of his work demonstrate the ability of inspired DIY inventors and hackers to contribute to wearable health and medical technology.