Your Future Computer Might Be Worn Like Glasses

See more than just the world around you

  • A new product called Nimo promises to put the power of a laptop computer into a pair of glasses. 
  • The glasses are part of an effort to replace many computer functions with wearables. 
  • The Nimo glasses are expected to ship next year and cost $799.
A business person outside in the city wearing smart glasses.

Kilito Chan / Getty Images

You might not need to tote a laptop around much longer, thanks to a planned new generation of smart glasses. 

Nimo, new glasses from a company called Nimo Planet, use Qualcomm's Snapdragon XR1 processor, turning them into a mini-computer for your face. The glasses are part of an effort to replace many computer functions with wearables. 

"Smart glasses are useful because they help you blend environments with intelligence," Bob Bilbruck, the CEO of the technology consulting firm Captjur told Lifewire in an email interview. 

Finding Nimo

The $799 Nimo glasses are the product of four years of development by the India-based company, according to Wired. The idea is that the Nimo will show virtual displays projected in front of your eyes which you can interact with using a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. 

Unlike many augmented reality glasses under development, Nimo won't include cameras or speakers. The emphasis is on productivity rather than entertainment. According to the company's website, the shipping version of the glasses is expected to weigh 90 grams. It will run the Android operating system. 

"Our vision is to create the world's best productivity computer that fits in the pocket and helps people to work from anywhere," the company said on its website. 

The Nimo glasses are expected to ship next year. 

Smart Frames

While the Nimo glasses are unusual because they focus on productivity, they are just one of a growing number of smart headsets on the market. For example, the Ray-Ban Stories launched last year by Meta include a multi-camera capture system, which lets the wearer record what they're seeing by tapping a button on the top of the arm. 

You can also operate the Stories hands-free with Facebook Assistant voice commands. A hard-wired capture LED lights up to let people nearby know when you're taking a photo or video. Streamlined, open-ear speakers are built in. 

Another smart glass product already available is the Vuzix Blade which is intended for remote access to multimedia content at work. The newly upgraded version of the Blade includes an auto-focus 8-megapixel camera, built-in stereo speakers, and voice control. The glasses show objects in the field of view in full color. 

A model wearing Nimo smart glasses.

Nimo Planet

Google is also showing its continuing interest in the smart glasses market with its recent acquisition of Raxium, The Information reported. The startup is developing microLED displays that could be integrated into Google's augmented reality headsets or new versions of Glass. 

The primary benefit of smart glasses is that they offer the convenience of operating hands-free, Patty Nagle, President Americas of TeamViewer, an augmented reality technology company, told Lifewire in an email interview. 

"This is particularly important at the enterprise and industry level, where hands-free instruction delivered via smart glasses plays a crucial role in increasing productivity at assembly plants, power stations, hospital wards, and elsewhere," Nagle said. "Smart glasses also close knowledge gaps allowing for rapid knowledge transfer, letting you solve problems faster and in real-time. This knowledge transfer is particularly useful for training and onboarding new employees."

For non-business users, smart glasses can help you look up information quickly without whipping out your phone or laptop. 

"The initial application is to see information laid out on top of the world around you, so you don't need to take out your phone and look at it, guiding you and providing contextual information wherever you are," futurist Ross Dawson said in an email interview. 

Smart glasses are useful because they help you blend environments with intelligence.

Smart glasses are useful because they come in a form factor that people are used to wearing and don't need to use a second device to access any features, Rock Gao, general manager for the headphone team at Soundcore, which makes glasses with audio capabilities, said in an email. "In this case, smart glasses become an extension of a cell phone that combines a computer, calculator, camera, stopwatch, web browser, and hundreds of other functions into a single device," he added.

Smart glasses could one day help users navigate the metaverse, the growing network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. Some observers predict that smart glasses will eventually replace virtual reality headsets. 

"The whole idea for the Metaverse is being able to blend the real world with a virtual world where you can implement more datasets and quickly make these mean something to help interact and manage your life," Bilbruck said. 

The possibilities for smart glasses are limitless, Dawson said. Eventually, smart glasses could replace our phones, provide "us instant information as soon as we think of it, being our interactive coaches through our everyday lives, or even telling us the best things to say on a date." 

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