Sensing eye movement and head motion, these smart fitness glasses from a Japanese eyewear company are aiming to reduce driving fatigue...and look completely normal.
I looked at myself with a pair of Jins Meme glasses on, and I looked completely normal. That's the whole idea: Japanese eyewear maker Jins, which has over 300 retail locations globally (270 in Japan, 30 in China) and is planning its first US store in San Francisco later this year, has made its smart eyewear into something you'd actually want to wear. I put a pair on my face in Las Vegas during the mad rush of CES 2015.
There are no cameras on the Jins Meme, no projecting displays. These are regular prescription glasses: hipster black plastic, but able to be fitted with normal lenses. Instead, this pair of Bluetooth-connected glasses is sensor-studded: six-axis accelerometer and gyroscope, and a nose piece with metal electrooculography (EOG) sensors that measure eye movement and blinking. What the Jins Meme measures is you.
Why do you need a pair of glasses that tracks your movement? Good question. One reason is to measure posture; in a software demo I tried, I could see how my head was tilted and how my shoulders were aligned. It reminded me of a Wii balance board on my face.
But the eye-tracking tech in the bridge could be used for something more important: eye fatigue. The glasses can sense eye fatigue, which could be useful for situations where people work too long, stare at screens for too long (hello, CES), or do a lot of driving. Jins is already in talks with Japanese auto-part manufacturer Denso to explore ways that Jins Meme glasses could be used to tell a driver when to take a rest, maybe by triggering a car safety system, or an alarm telling you to pull over.
There's no announced price for Jins Meme, but I was told to expect something affordable, in keeping with Jins' existing line of glasses frames.
One drawback for some: these glasses need charging via USB (I spotted a Micro-USB port on one arm, near a glowing blue light). Yes, another gadget to charge. But if it means helping keep me awake on the road, I just might try it.