VSP is launching “Project Genesis,” an activity tracking prototype that is built into eyeglasses rather than a separate wearable item. Despite it being just a prototype, the device seems to be making excellent development progress.
The device is visually similar to VSP’s Marchon eyewear division when viewed from the front. The main difference between the two is a circuit board that contains a “gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, Bluetooth radio, and battery.” Although the circuit board is embedded in the left side, it was designed to be thin and lightweight, so the difference in symmetry is hardly noticeable. To appease the fitness audience, there is a smartphone app that automatically syncs to the device and tracks steps, calories burned, activity time, and distance traveled.
“We already know that we can decrease the thickness by a couple millimeters, which is a lot in a frame. [But even now], you wouldn’t know the difference unless someone really pointed it out,” said Leslie Muller, east-coast lead of The Shop, VSP’s in-house bi-coastal innovation lab, and vice president of design at Marchon. She and her west-coast counterpart, Jay Sales, have worked together to run trials and develop Project Genesis.
Using eyewear (what VSP calls “the original wearable”) as an activity tracker poses its own challenges. “When you put an accelerometer on somebody’s head, just talking gives you information,” Sales explains. “We have to filter out noise to get step [count] right…But that filter is now giving us the ability to find all of these different activities that are really, really special above the shoulders.”
Since Genesis contains sensors that measure a person’s heart rate, as well as assess stress, this product is well on its way to being one of the most health-focused wearables to date. Although a formal release date is over a year away, it can be predicted that this particular wearable will not cost much more than a standard pair of frames, which makes it one of the most wallet-friendly wearable devices to date.
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