Last year this guy made his own smartwatch from scratch, so in 2020, naturally, he decided to give making smartglasses a try. And it worked!
Nashville, Tennessee-based electrical engineer Sam March is the kind of DIY guy we love. He realized he had a problem he wanted to solve and came up with his own tech-enabled solution. The problem? Walking navigation assistance without staring down at his smartphone like millions of other mobile zombie-like pedestrians stumbling around the planet.
But rather than come up with an awkward Google Glass cyborg device, or opt for a pair of enterprise-centric specs like the Vuzix Blade, March wanted something a little more fashion-forward as a smart wearable for his face.
This kind of product was already on the market in the form of North’s Focals, but Google took that product off the market (for now) this summer for a price reportedly in the $180 million range. Sure, there’s the non-augmented reality Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo Frames, but Jeff Bezos still hasn’t managed to nail wearable fashion, and Snap’s Spectacles have the style, but so far still only serve as an enhanced camera.
Therefore, March’s mission was clear: build his own fashionable smartglasses to help him with street directions. But when March makes something from “scratch” he really means it. He designed the frames starting with a 3D model and then built the wearable and its embedded electronics and iOS app up from there.
Ultimately, what March has is a simple but effective device that pairs with mapping software that indicates left and right turns (blue light on either side of the glasses) and destination reached (a green light). This is something you can currently do via Google Maps on your smartphone, which includes an AR function, but if you’d rather not look lost in public while constantly staring down at your smartphone, this is a pretty slick alternative.
You can’t buy these stylish directional specs, but the good news, if you’re a tinkerer, is that you can build your own thanks to the instructions March posted on GitHub. He calls his “smarchGlasses” but you can call them whatever you like if you manage to get your own pair fabricated and working well.