Google Glass has, of course, caught the attention of nerds and is starting up a long, possibly complicated, discussion of what’s public and what isn’t when you’re walking around with a camera attached to your face. But if you just want the augmented reality features, and not to be recording police arrests, you can get those for slightly cheaper with GlassUp (and yes, you can get a version with a camera).
GlassUp is, as you may have guessed, very similar to Google Glass in some respects, so let’s start with the differences: First of all, these have clear lenses with a slight tint, unlike Glass, which more resembles Geordi’s visor with that car air filter taken off of it. Secondly, instead of putting the display over your eye, GlassUp projects messages and the like onto your actual glasses. That’s actually a fairly important difference, as social critics have noted part of the problem with Glass is that people talking to you are unsure of whether you’re looking in their eyes, or looking at Corey Haim’s Wikipedia page.
Finally, it’s more of a phone accessory than a self-contained unit. While it will have apps, Android on board, and other functionality, it’ll also need to be paired with your phone to, for example, get GPS coordinates. It’s true that Glass also should be paired with your phone, but it’s a bit more independent than GlassUp in that respect.
The main downside is that GlassUp apparently can’t accomodate prescription lenses, which is also a problem with Glass. Come on, guys, do you think the squinters of the world do that for fun? Cut them some slack.
If GlassUp appeals to you, they’ve got a delivery date of February 2014, and to get a pair will run you between $199 and $399, depending on when you want them and whether you want a camera.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.