Smart eyewear is back in fashion, especially thanks to Apple finally announcing the Vision Pro. Although its design pretty much still falls under the “headset” category, the ultimate goal of many of these wearables is to be as inconspicuous are regular spectacles or sunglasses as possible. Easier said than done, of course, especially when you need to cram plenty of electronics in such a small space. There are advancements in that area, of course, to the point that it might be possible to fit almost all the necessary components on or near the lenses. That kind of technology will open the doors to a wider variety of wearable designs, including one where you can swap frames to be as sporty or as classy as you need your mixed reality eyewear to be.
Designers: Ben Melvin, Jo Barnard, Dan Lloyd, Harry Mason (Morrama)
There are actually quite a number of designs for smart eyewear, depending on how complicated they need to be. Some include more complex computers and the usual design involves a headband that you wear around your head. Others simply mirror the screen from your phone or computer, so they can just look like overgrown sunglasses. But if you can settle for something even simpler, you might be able to condense everything around the lenses so that the frame is really just a frame, one that you can even replace more easily than with prescription glasses.
Morrama Issé is a concept for mixed reality eyewear that takes advantage of such a design by making the lenses and the frame two connected but independent pieces. The lenses are not your average pair and look more like sports visors. The rim of the visor is quite thick which is where all the electronics will be hidden. In other words, the visor can function on its own without the frame, and the frame only provides the structure that will hold the visor up on the wearer’s face.
This means that the frames are interchangeable, letting the wearer choose the style of the frame depending on where they want to wear the mixed reality goggles. These can be rugged or elegant, at least as elegant as possible considering the rather thick frame required to support the weight of the visor part. More importantly, however, the frames can be made using more sustainable and recyclable materials since this part usually has a shorter lifespan.
The Morrama Issé design is no Minority Report or Tony Stark, and you will still look conspicuous if you will be wearing such eyewear in public. Of course, the primary use case for the wearable will be for fitness, where the goggles will provide the relevant biometrics and information that people need when training or exercising. It’s pretty much the same data that your smartwatch would show, except it will always be within your field of vision. Not everyone will find the aesthetic that pleasing, but Issé’s innovation is how it is able to envision a more modular approach to designing mixed reality eyewear, especially with a bent towards more sustainable options.