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GlassUp: Augmented Reality glasses that display messages from your smartphone

GlassUp eyeglasses display emails, text messages, directions, heartbeats, translations, or any other info selected by the relevant apps on your smartphone.

Important Notes: 

- Ok, ok, since you keep asking them you may still have them, just go on our website

- We are in agreements with some of the most famous eyewear brands for the design, so the final ones will be trendier and more varied

Recent articles:

Media Logos for GlassUp

VentureBeat, MSN Malaysia, CIO, Ubergizmo, Mashable, Business Insider, Hacker News, CNet, PCWorld, Ecommerce Times, Sidney Morning Herald, Pulse 2.0, ITWire, Herald Sun, ITV, SBWire, Overclock, Geekapolis, ITProPortal, Upstart, ZiggyTek, The Droid Guy, MedCity News, The Awesomer, Zinx, Tech is for Geeks, Music RSS, Slashdot, Make Use Of, DVICE, Android Authority, Tech Hive, Market Wire, Yahoo, The Age, The Next Web, News.com Australia, Slashgear, Geeky Gadgets, Forbes, Techchrunch, Fast Company.

Giornalettismo (Italian), Wall Street Italia (Italian), ZDNet Korea (Korean), Dagospia (Italian), Corriere della Sera (Italian), Panorama (Italian), La Perfetta Letizia (Italian), Repubblica (Italian), Tech à Porter (French), Il Resto del Carlino (Italian)

Older ones:

Wired Italy (Italian), France24 (French), Article and Interview on Engadget, Corriere della Sera (Italian)

Videos:

Cary Tilds at CES 2013Lisa und Isa!, Interview at CeBit 1, Interview at CeBit 2, Tom's Hardware first look (in Italian), TedMEDLive (Italian), Norman of Nerdbench, Marc Meerbeek interviews Alfio, MobiFlip (German), Golem Germany, MochiBytesTV, QuiBolognaTV, half an hour! (Italian), Digital Trends,

Here’s what GlassUp is for:

GlassUp displays to the user any kind of message, super-imposed on reality. See it as a convenient "second screen for your smartphone"

New mail notification to your field of vision, while in Venice

Some examples:

  • Emails, text messages, Facebook updates, tweets, RSS, calendar events, incoming calls 
  • Breaking news, weather, stock exchange, sport results
  • Real time feedback display for running, biking, sailing, action sports
  • Turn by turn directions to riders (motorcycles, bikes,..)
  • Aid for hearing impaired
  • Translations display when talking in different languages 
  • Patients’ body data to a surgeon
  • Instructions to workers in warehousing or maintenance
  • Teleprompter for public speaking
  • Subtitles at the movies (for hearing impaired and for different languages) 
  • Details about works of art at a museum
  • Gaming
  • Domotics, etc..

Most of these use cases come from actual customers waiting for the product, so we want to deliver it as soon as possible and open up the possibilities to all, you included!

See it as a new display of the Nike app, or similar.

An output of your smartphone or other Bluetooth connected device

GlassUp is basically a second screen output for your devices (mobile, smartphones, etc). It’s like being up to date with everything, without having to check your smartphone continuously. Information is sent from your smartphone to your GlassUp simply via a Bluetooth connection.

The types of content and data transferred to GlassUp will be determined by the apps you choose to download.

Thanks to our technology you will not need to grab your smartphone continuously anymore, but only when you want to act upon a particular notification.

The concept is similar to that of a Bluetooth earphone (actually, we have thought of a notifier earphone as well). Whatever arrives on the glasses is already on the phone, so it’s useful only to see messages without grabbing your smartphone. We see it as a first step towards telepathy, for which we couldn’t yet find the technology solution (yet :-)).

White on red model - Design is tentative

Comparison with Google Glass and other competitors

Compared to Google Glass, our eyeglasses are more focused on SHOWING information, in a very utilitarian approach. 

  • GlassUp is "receive only". No photos or videos involved, no privacy issues.
  • The projection is Monochrome (currently green, but we may switch to amber).
  • Longer battery life
  • GlassUp projects the information close to the center of vision, with less strain to the eye of the wearer

The latter is very important: leveraging the experience of our  team member Gianluigi, who had developed optical systems for airplane pilots' helmets, we knew from the start that the information had to appear almost in the center of the field of view, vs forcing you to look laterally. This is the main issue we worked on, and only when we found the technical solution we went on with the project. 

A good metaphor is that with Google Glass it’s like seeing something in the rear-view mirror of a car, whereas with GlassUp it’s like seeing it on the windscreen.

Last but not least: Google chose a very distinctive look for their product, our GlassUp will look like a normal pair of eyeglasses.

You really still want to stop and check your map or navigator?

Land of Design

North-East Italy leads by far the world in terms of eye-wear design, with companies -such as Luxottica, Safilo, Marcolin, De Rigo - designing and producing most of the world leading brands (Ray-Ban, Oakley, Vogue, Carrera, Polaroid, and so many more). We are located in the very center of this district, so we plan to take advantage of the know-how spread in our neighborhood.

We will start with one or two designs, but we plan to have a more varied product line (sport, casual, high-tech, business, etc.), as soon as it makes financial sense. We have already presented our technology to the Italian fashion business, and various brands are willing to work with us.

Cutting Edge Technology

To develop the product we had in mind, our team member Gianluigi Tregnaghi selected some of the best professionals in this sector. He and Fabrizio Liberati, for instance, are two of the three most qualified optical scientists in Italy. We are collaborating with various universities around Italy, and we are connected with other specialized centers in Italy and elsewhere.

We have filed a patent application covering our technology in Italy, we are planning on filing extensions of said application and we intend to file more applications in the near future on the improvements we will be making. The optical technology, of which we are very proud, is our strength, and we know it’s extremely difficult to replicate.

Andrea checking Gianluigi's work

Team

Francesco Giartosio, CEO, a passion for applied technology and man-machine interaction

Gianluigi Tregnaghi, CTO, exceptional experience developing optical systems, including for car windscreens and air force pilots’ helmets

Andrea Tellatin, COO, managed the development and industrialization of I’m Watch, a successful smartwatch

Alfio Giuffrida, Business Development Director, a long experience as a technical sales manager in the telecommunications industry

Luca Escoffier, Mentor, who we chose particularly for his wide experience in intellectual property, licensing agreements, Asian markets (he follows us from Japan), and strategic partnerships.

Optical Team: Fabrizio Liberati, Tommaso Occhipinti, Fabio Frassetto, Ivan Capraro

Hardware and Firmware Team: Fabio D'Alessi, Alberto Scarpa, Stefano Bianconi and their kidz.

Product Engineering, Manufacturing and Logistics: Fabio Patron and his team.

And many more fans of the project, who are excited to work with us.  Such as Filippo and Jennifer Catalano, who arranged the crowdfunding campaign.  And Giovanni Contini, running the show at the fairs.

The core team lives in the North-East of Italy, that by far leads the world eyeglass market (about two thirds of the eyeglasses in the world are made by companies located here), so for sure we’ll take advantage of the skills, and market coverage, of our region’s industry.

Gianluigi checking the optical system

Timeline

We started the feasibility study in the fall of 2011, the development of the optical system in the spring of 2012, and the development of the hardware and software in the fall of 2012. Our streamlined product vision allowed us to prototype and develop quickly through rapid iterations.

We have now arrived at the first prototype with our own work and money, which was the plan, and that’s where we have to stop and we need you!

What we need to do now is the industrialization, we need to finalize the specs, look for suppliers, define the production process, make molds, take care of the international certifications and additional patent filings, and so on. 

We plan to have the final product definition by the end of July, and proceed to the industrialization.  We should have a first buggy pre-series at the end of September.  Once we've fixed the bugs and the specs are final, we'll start the certifications and the production, and we expect to have the product on the market in February 2014.

Sporty Look:

The colours are white and red, or black and green.

Classic Look:

This was the first prototype, it still has it's fans

Is What I See What I get?

You might be asking:

  • Will the product I get actually look like the one in the video?
  • Will the messages I see actually appear like the one in the video?

The answer to both questions is, yes, if not better!  In particular:

  • Concerning the design of the glasses, the actors in the video are wearing the eyeglass model that we have currently selected, the sporty one, to which we had attached for this purpose the actual electronic circuit and optical system from the previous prototype.  In the next few months we will test other designs, and try to improve still, so the eyeglasses could look like the ones in the video, or probably better.  The design you see in other images also on this page, such as the classic look, are previous prototypes, again we believe we can improve on them. The frame in the video is still a little thick, we've made it thinner afterwords. 
  • The image above (sporty look) shows a bulky optical - electronic element.  Forget about that: it is the 3d of the current prototipe, we made it bulky because we need room to work on it.  As soon as it's finalized we'll miniaturize it, no worry.
  • The lens will probably be slightly tinted, not completely transparent, because people who do not need eyeglasses don't want to be asked if their sight has deteriorated, and sunglasses blend better in every day use.
  • As for the aspect of the messages, the guys who produced the video (brilliant work of Pongofilms from Modena, Italy) were given the actual formats and screenshots from our sdk simulator, so the messages should look quite like those in the video - except if we hire a good designer, which we will do.

Smartphone pairing - Design is tentative

Product specs

(very provisional, we’ll update them over time) 

We expect to have two-three designs in two-three sizes, but this will depend on the partnerships we’ll bring home.

  • Weight around 65 grams (tested on our first prototype) 
  • On board OS: Android 
  • Sensors: accelerometer, compass, ambient light sensor, precision altimeter, perhaps more (the GPS is already on your smartphone, so we don’t need it)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth LE 
  • Optical system, made of a display and a set of lenses and mirrors. The resolution of the display is 320x240. If you ask more details on the optics, you’re a competitor.
  • One day of battery life recharge via mini-usb
  • Lenses: Lenses will be slightly tinted
  • Controls: A touch-pad, with the usual controls (tap, double tap, long press, swipe vertically and horizontally), we are deciding now which ones to keep for us to on/off the projector (probably the long press), the others will be left to the developers to manage the apps.
  • Color combinations: The frame you see in the video is red on white, it's one of the two versions we plan to sell - the other is green on black
  • Prescription glasses - we get asked all the time, and a hard one: can our GlassUp be used with your prescription lenses? The lens of our GlassUp is very special, so you can not replace it with yours. We are working on a solution. We’ll likely be able to accommodate simple vision defects at a small cost
  • Next versions - We will have to make tough calls in for the evolution of the product. The roadmap (a camera, voice controls? binoculars?..) will take into account market feedback (and yours!) and consider what will be achievable by the team while we increase the team size

Touch surface and controls on the side - Design is tentative

APPS:

We plan to release a few apps on our own, such as the notifier, the visual impaired help, the translator. For the rest, we’ll release the APIs and rely on external developers. We’re confident that there will be many, both because they’re already calling every day, and because Andrea has already gone through this with his smartwatch, and thousands of developers have downloaded the APIs. 

On May 25, we presented for the first time our SDK and simulator to a Hackathon in Milan. The winning team developed an app that would read the engine data from the processor of a car or motorbike and send them on the glasses. 

Our API will work for Android (they already are) and iOS (almost done), probably also for Windows 7 but this still needs work (on Microsoft side, obviously). We’ll also have to create a translator, a compiler, that will make it possible to convert relatively easily the current mobile apps to show the messages on the eyeglass, instead of on the display of the mobile.

A team of developers working with our APIs. They built an app displaying the speed, RPM, etc., extracted from the processor of a motorbike.

Business model, distribution, marketing, partnerships, investors

We are working hard to make strategic partnerships, as we want to distribute the product through existing proven channels. We are currently in talks with some companies in different fields: eye-wear, telecommunications, consumer electronics, sports, games - we can’t name them yet and we don’t want to anyway. We have high confidence that at least one of these agreements will be finalized. In case none does, we are already in talks with national importers and distributors.

Our business model is to sell the glasses, and let the external developers sell the apps they make. In addition to the general consumer market, of techies and sportsmen/women, there is a wealth of rich and huge niches (medical, gaming, museums, and so on), that we can work on - when we’ll have time to do it.

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Digital Trends,

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