Ina Fried

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Spanish Startup Offers a Low-End Take on High-Tech Glasses

Santiago Ambit loves the idea of adding technology to eyeglasses, but not the notion of having to walk around looking like something out of a science fiction movie.

Ion glasses Santiago Ambit

The Spanish entrepreneur wants to take a modest amount of technology to handle things like basic remote control and notifications and put it into a package small enough and inexpensive enough to rival traditional specs.

“The idea is to fight with regular glasses, not Google Glass,” Ambit said, trying on the prototype of the specs. “With [these] you don’t look like a cyborg.”

His 12-person firm has created Ion Glasses, a $79 pair of eyewear that aims to be on the market early next year. It has just the basics — bluetooth for communicating with an Android or iOS device (or Mac or PC), a micro-USB port for charging, LED and buzzer for notifications and a pair of buttons for controlling a camera sensor.

Ion has gone from a prototype the size of a slice of toast a year ago to a near-production-ready size as of March. The company is taking backers on Indiegogo (they have reached a little more than half of their $60,000 goal) with an eye toward shipping the first glasses in February.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus