Californian sunglasses specialist Oakley has announced it is to manufacture augmented reality glasses which the company claims it has been working on for an impressive 15 years.

The AR glasses will focus on improving athletes’ performance by providing them with specific details and information although currently there is not a launch date in mind, which makes me think perhaps this news comes as a taster to perhaps take some of the focus off of Google and their recent Google Glass announcement.

Google claimed it will launch – in the near future – an augmented reality glasses product which will change the way people look at the world. Information such as directions, coordinates and local businesses will appear in the glasses, along with the expected adverts and pop-ups.

With current products including an impressive portfolio of sports visors, ski goggles and fashionable everyday sunglasses styles, Oakley has built up a name for itself over the past 37 years since its birth in Foothill Ranch, Calif.

Both announcements from Google and Oakley have had people asking questions as to whether or not prescriptions will be able to be fitted inside the AR glasses, or if they are in fact aimed at the non-glasses wearers market.

At present, it seems Google may be ahead in the stakes as it has released an image (cue attractive models) of the glasses in real-life situations. And a rather impressive video, too.

Colin Baden, CEO of Oakley, highlighted that the company had been developing the gasses since 1997. He also said how there is a “technology barrier to success” with the AR glasses as getting the specific optics correct may take some doing (and indeed some time, too). 600 patents have been filed over the 15 years and the notion behind the design is that it will function on its own as well as in conjunction with smartphones via Bluetooth capability.

In 2004, Oakley launched a pair of sunglasses which featured an inbuilt MP3 player and headphones, proving the company ahs always been interested in technological developments in eyewear.

The augmented reality glasses news is exciting people all over the globe; from tech fans to glasses wearers and fashion followers. How exactly the glasses will take off is another matter, but right now it is just exciting to think of the possibilities.

I wonder if the glasses will come in an impressive range of retro, geeky chic and classic styles? Watch this space!

Amy writes about technology in the optics market for Direct Sight, a leading provider of glasses including varifocals online.

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Last Updated on September 17, 2014

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