GlassUp is marking the official launch of its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for a pair of smart glasses similar in concept to Google Glass, but with a stripped-down feature set.

The crowdfunding campaign has currently raised only a portion of its $150,000 goal, but the GlassUp team says that it will release the product through investors even if it doesn’t get the full amount.

Unlike Google Glass, GlassUp places the display in the middle of your field of vision. The idea is that if you were talking face-to-face with someone, text notifications would show up on their tie.

GlassUp is showing off two designs: sporty and a classic. They’ve taken efforts to make the look stylish, but the device looks awkwardly bulky in sample photos. GlassUp CEO Francesco Giartosio mentioned the company’s proximity to the top Italian glasses designers as a reason they’ll have attractive designs in the end, but I’d take a wait-and-see approach on that.

glassup 730x278 GlassUp officially launches its crowdfunding campaign for a lightweight take on smart glasses

Giartosio said the team has been working on the device since before Google Glass was announced, and they have since heard from Google with concerns about the similarity between the product’s name and its Glass trademark.

While GlassUp and Google Glass are bound to draw comparisons, GlassUp is without many of Google Glass’s most compelling features.The lack of a camera in the base model makes it significantly less useful than Google’s piece and its monochromatic display feels more like a competitor to the Pebble smartwatch.

The GlassUp, which is slated to ship next spring, will likely be significantly cheaper than Google Glass, though, as its retail price is listed at $399 for the camera-less model.

Giartosio said GlassUp has attracted about 100 developers interested in making apps for the platform. At launch, the glasses will support iOS and Android. It may also be compatible with Windows 7.

The GlassUp team is interested in developing models tailored for users in specific verticals, such as medical professionals and motorbike drivers. Additional features like voice control and binoculars could come down the road.

Image credits: GlassUp