North, formerly Thalmic Labs, launches Focals, a lightweight pair of smartglasses - Josh Loe

North, formerly Thalmic Labs, launches Focals, a lightweight pair of smartglasses


There’s a vision of the future in Silicon Valley that one day, highly advanced glasses will be able to provide useful information inside their lenses.

Instead of looking at your phone, these glasses will be able to display useful information like notifications, directions, and reminders as a heads-up display.

Google took a stab at these kind of smartglasses back in 2013 with Google Glass but faced a difficult reception among consumers. Now an Amazon-backed startup out of Waterloo, Canada is releasing its version of smart glasses using modern technologies.

The new glasses are made by North, which used to be known as Thalmic Labs. North has raised $140 million in funding from investors including Amazon Alexa Fund, Fidelity Investments, and First Round Capital, according to the company.

They’ve used that money to make a pair of smartglasses, called Focals, that focus more on style and user experience than technology.

The company wants to make clear that Focals aren’t a full augmented reality headset, like Magic Leap One or Microsoft Hololens. Instead, they like to call them glasses that people can wear every day.

“We’re not focused on unicorns jumping over rainbows or monsters coming out of the wall,” Thalmic Labs CEO Stephen Lake told Business Insider. “It’s about having a product that’s going to be useful for you throughout the day all day.”

“Throughout the day, it’s wearable, it’s comfortable, and give valuable bits of information that make sense at the time,” he continued.

Here’s what Focals do:



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