Making Prescription Google Glass

overview

After months of waiting, I got the coveted email inviting me to pick up my pair of Google Glasses.  After my appointment at Google HQ, my celebration was brief because I struggled with how to deal with Google Glass and my own prescription glasses.  I tried wearing both frames at once (disaster) and I tried switching between Google Glass and my prescription glasses throughout the day.  Neither option worked well.  The benefits of Google Glass come from constant use over time.  If I had to pull out Glass and put them on each time a card showed up on my Timeline, that experience would be no different than pulling out my cell phone.  In order to experience Glass at its fullest, I needed to be able to wear it for extended periods.

I suppose I could get contact lenses, but I’ve got pretty bad astigmatism in both eyes (-4 and -3 diopters), plus it seems silly to get contacts just so I can wear a pair of glasses. Google has already said they’re working on prescription Google Glass, but there’s no release date yet.

Rather than wait, I hacked together my own pair of prescription Google Glasses using magnets and Sugru.

sugru

If you’ve never heard of it, Sugru is “self-setting rubber that can be formed by hand. It moulds like play-dough, bonds to almost anything and turns into a strong, flexible silicone rubber overnight.”

In this case, I used Sugru to attach a pair of magnets to my existing prescription frames.  Then I removed the titanium frame from Google Glass and used Sugru to attach two magnets to the Google Glass earpiece.

earpiece

The result is a standalone Google Glass earpiece that automatically attaches to my existing prescription frames.  It works like a charm, and the placement of the Glass screen aligns perfectly every time with my prescription frames.

glass_earpiece

This solution allows me to wear Glass throughout the day and quickly remove it in cases where the context isn’t appropriate.  And now I can start working on the next challenge — coming up with a fun app idea for Glass.

  • http://nanek.name/ Lance Nanek

    Looks like it works really effortlessly, nice!

    Unrelated, but the Twitter icon on the top right of this page doesn’t seem to work. Just reloads this page instead of linking Twitter. Want to follow :)

    • rgablog

      Thanks for letting us know about the broken links Lance. They’re fixed now. And we appreciate the kind words about the article too : )

  • Agrim Prasad

    Really impressive Will! We covered you in an article at Selfscreens.com about hacking Google Glass.

    Check it out at selfscreens.com/archives/4972/google-glass-hacked-into-google-class-from-prescription-to-designer-google-glasses?fb_source=pubv1

  • MisterReason

    that seems like a way more convenient form factor. Like a bluetooth headset for your eye!

    • rgablog

      Accept

      -Vinny

      —– Reply message —–

  • http://christopherdebeer.com/ Christopher de Beer

    Does this not render the bone-conduction/audio un-usable?

    • Will Turnage

      The alignment is designed so the bone conducting speaker sits just above the earpiece. So it still touches the skull and works great.

  • joshhighland

    This is awesome. Is the sugru permanently bonded to the Google Glass?

    I used shrink tubing on my hack, I didn’t want to do anything permanent to my Glass – http://joshhighland.com/blog/2013/08/09/prescription-google-glass-round-2/

    • Will Turnage

      Yes, it’s bonded, but you can always scrape off the Sugru with a razor.

  • http://mykola.at/ mykola bilokonsky

    Can you link to the specific magnets you used? It looks like you found the perfect size/strength for the task. I will be doing this soon, I think.

    • awarelisa

      did you ever get a reply to the magnet inquiry? I’d also like to copy Will’s solution…

      • Will Turnage

        I used some standard rare earth magnets from Radio Shack which are very strong. The trick (which you can see in the picture) is that you can control the strength of the magnet by spreading Sugru over the magnet. Originally, I think my magnets were *too* strong, but by experimenting with different thicknesses of Sugru on top of the magnet, I was able to dampen the magnet’s strength until it was the exact strength I wanted.

        Also, I believe my magnets were 3/16″ in diameter, but the only reasoning behind that is that it was roughly the same size as the earpiece on my frame.

  • Buddy Milkshake

    Pretty cool. Don’t know if I’d want some magnets by the side of my head all the time, though. http://boingboing.net/2011/04/11/how-magnets-affect-t.html

  • orubel

    Unlike Apple where they designed their magnetic power cable to be properly shielded, adding a hack like this with magnets to a device that was not design to shield the electronics properly can have dangerous consequences. I would say do at your own risk.

  • Peter Brauer

    Since the hack, have you noticed any issues with the magnets causing interference or degaussing?

  • BIG UK

    Have you shown the guys at Google what you did? I’m sure this would be a great selling point for people like myself who wear prescription glasses.

  • Mark Fuller

    Simply brilliant! I received my invitation yesterday but was hesitant to purchase since I also wear prescription glasses. How difficult was it to remove the titanium frame? Do you have any photos of that? Does it destroy the frame In a way that would make it impossible to reassembled? I just spoke to my Glass expert had never heard of your hack. He was totally impressed with it.

  • Scott Vachon

    You need to use a Torx 4, not a Torx 5 driver to remove the computing unit from the frame.