January 28, 2014
Prescription Frames Coming To Google Glass
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Google is updating its Glass offering with a range of styles, and the ability to get Glass with Prescription lenses. The new styles include four new Glass frames in the Titanium line.
The Titanium Collection includes four feather-light titanium frames. Styles can be seen on the Google Glass page. Prescription frames include Split, Thin, Bold and Curve. There are also three styles available in sunglasses for outdoors use including the Edge, Classic and Active. The latter is designed for more active users and can be taken into sports settings such as cycling, skiing or mountain climbing.
The Titanium Collection is available for $225 in addition to the current $1500 price tag, USA Today reports. Users can add tinted lenses for another $150.
The frames come in up to five colors and a range of shades, CNET reports, making a possible 40 combinations of colors, frames and shades, including the original frame and shade.
Google advises that some vision insurance plans will help cover the cost of the new prescription frames. Google names VSP as one such vision insurance plan that will support Glass. USA Today reports that VSP has partnered with Google to provide coverage, and is also training optometrists on how to put prescriptions in the new frames. Trained optometrists, at least at first, will be limited to professionals in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York -- where Google Glass is more common.
"Our goal is to have 6,000 doctors trained by the end of the year, throughout the country. We have 200 trained so far," Steve Lee, product director for Glass, told USA Today.
Glass also presents new fitting issues for the eye care industry.
Dr. Matthew Alpert, an optometrist who serves on VSP's board of directors and is the company's chairman of optometric innovations, also works as the insurer's liaison with Google.
He told USA Today, "We need to make sure that Glass is fitted properly, and that the lenses are fabricated properly. A home run for me would be a positive patient experience."
Glass remains available only to a select number of users during Google's "beta" period. Glass is available to Explorers -- which includes developers, their friends and people Google invites to join the program. Anyone can also apply on the Google Glass site. Industry insiders expect that Google Glass will become more widely available later this year, according to USA Today.
"People want lots of preferences for how their eyewear looks, from loud to subtle," said Lee in comments to USA Today. "This is where we are headed. You can start to see how the core design of Glass can accommodate lots of different styles."
Prescription lenses are the most-requested improvement, CNET reports. Google based the styles on existing popular trends in the eye care industry to appeal to a broader audience, and make the frames less geeky.
"We think they'll accommodate most people's tastes. Anybody who is familiar with the process of getting [an eyeglasses] prescription will be familiar with how you get prescription Glass," Lee said to CNET.