Gadgets for humans

Level puts a fitness tracker in your glasses, and it’s not the worst idea ever

Level glasses

VSP Global, a network of eye care businesses in the US, is gearing up to begin selling its Level smart glasses next month. But unlike efforts from Intel and Vuzix, these spectacles don’t feature fancy displays or augmented reality capabilities; instead, they’re designed to help you stay in shape.

The $270 glasses, which will go on sale in March at optometry practices across the US, look like standard spectacles and come with the same sensors that are found in fitness trackers designed for your wrist. There are three frame styles – each in four different colors – to choose from.

So why bake fitness tracking into your glasses? Because the vast majority of fitness trackers are ugly as hell. Leslie Muller, co-director of VSP’s The Shop innovation lab, explained, “Eyewear is a medical device, a fashion accessory and the world’s oldest form of wearable tech. To honor that legacy, we combined industrial design, engineering and traditional eyewear craftsmanship to create something seamless and fashionable, too.”

I can certainly get behind that. I only ever wear my fitness trackers when I remember that I should probably keep an eye on my workout routine, and even then, I can’t wait to take it off and only have a significantly nicer looking analogue watch on my wrist.

Now, my glasses are a different story. I’ve got them on all day long, and there’s no question of leaving the house without them. And Level has shown that they don’t need to look like odd gizmos just because they’ve got advanced circuitry inside.

For its asking price, Level tracks your steps, distance traveled, and calories burned; it also comes with a companion app that helps you locate your glasses around the house. You also get points for hitting daily goals and stretch goals; each time you accrue 50 points, VSP will give a person in need an eye exam and a pair of glasses at no charge.

Naturally, Level wearers will miss out on sleep tracking – but if you’ve been looking for a more elegant way to track your workouts, this might be just the thing.

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Published February 22, 2018 — 07:00 UTC