The Battle for Smart-Glass Supremacy: Google Glass, LaForge Icis and Avegant Glyph

Between Google Glass, Avegant’s Glyph and Laforge’s Icis, the battle for smart-glass supremacy is heating up!

“Google Glass” may have made itself the appellation for what is properly called “smart-glasses,” but despite the dominance of the big “G” there are plenty more sharks in the smart-glasses tank.

Google is piling a truck load of dough into the “wearable computer” market. Google’s Glass Explorer scheme allows customers to spend $1,500 on the Glass Explorer beta, which in turn will help Google to test their devise.

With Google Glass currently delayed in its beta testing phase, smaller companies have been given a chance to release their smart-glass devices pre-Google Glass and thereby capture a part of this new and lucrative market.

One of the most notable of Google-Glass contenders is Laforge Optics, who has just launched theirIndiegogo fundraising page for the Icis smartglasses.


LaForge Optics is approaching the market with the time-tested technique of giving everyone what they want for less money. They’re offering the LaForge Icis for $320. The Indiegogo’s sales pitch? “Be the most informed person in the room, without being a geek,” says Corey Mack, LaForge Optics’ founder.

As Mack states, Google’s slowness has opened the doors to other companies. “Huge companies like Google are slow. They have many different businesses. We have just one.” This leaves Google Glasses open to challenge.

The LaForge Icic’s  smart-glasses feature not just a strong design, but they build the screen into the lens, allowing users to avoid that frustrating “u-and-left” gaze notorious with Google Glass. A 640×480 display is shown to the side of the lens, but actually appears in front of the wearer due to the “proprietary combination of coatings and lenses.”

Proud nerds among our readers will have noted a humorous coincidence: LaForge shares its name with a Star Trek character who wears a “vision visor” not entirely dissimilar to smart-glasses. But is this only a coincidence. . . ? Yes; yes, it is, disappointingly, nothing more than a hilarious coincidence.

In stark contrast to LaForge’s Icis

is Avegant’s Glyph, which, as a head-mounted display, finds itself in competition with Sony’s HMZ line, the cheapest of which is £1000, for which the wearer will be granted the proud distinction of looking like a robot fetishist.

Avegant believe that head-mounted displays will eventually become as commonplace as headphones. If that’s to happen, however, head-mounted displays first need to be wearable in public.  I mean, really, the Sony’s HMZ lines make you look way too strange. . .



Avegant’s Glyph is like a pair of huge headphones that go over the ear. But when the headband is flipped down, two eyeholes allows you to view the screen. It’s kinda like being in a personal cinema but with much better 3D.

Style is not the Avegant Glyph’s only plus point. The unique display offers another sales point. The display uses an array of mirrors in order to project an image directly onto the retina. This negates the low-res effects of many virtual reality devices. In order to work, however, the display needs to be accurately aligned; still, a reasonable prices for such high quality display.

If Google think they have the smart-glasses market all tied up they might like to guess again.


Paul Harrison

Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.

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