Google's own prototype of Glass with prescription frames, from May.
Google has been saying for some time now that it would eventually bring prescription lens support to its Glass headsets, but so far, there hasn't been any word as to when that might come. "Sergey [Brin] dropped this on us in 2012 at I/O," Tim Moore, director of technology at Rochester Optical, tells The Verge. "It’s been 18 months later, and nothing’s really happened." Moore says that Rochester Optical is trying to fill the gap that Google has so far been ignoring, and as an 80-year-old eyewear company, that shouldn't be too hard for it to do.
"Our scientists are always looking for new vision opportunities."
Though a number of reports circulated last week that Rochester Optical and Google were working together to make this happen, that's not the case. The company has four Explorer Edition headsets, but Google tells us that they have no sort of partnership. While Moore happily reiterates this, you couldn't be faulted for reading Rochester Optical's press release and thinking that some sort of deal was in place. The plan even grew out of Moore's previous company, Venture Glass, which also has no relationship with Google.
Even without partnering, Moore says creating prescription frames for Glass will be doable — it's just like creating normal glasses. "We have a full lab, our scientists are always looking for new vision opportunities," Moore says. Though he won't explain just yet how Rochester Optical's frames will fit in with Glass, Moore says that the frames will be made to be wearable even when they aren't attached to the headset. "They're stylish, not cyborgish," he says. Some designs will match the colors of Glass, but there'll be other options too. "We’re gonna come up with some contrasting designs that are very fashionable and trendy."
The frames are set to go on sale in January, and Moore says they shouldn't cost any more than a comparable pair of glasses. They'll be targeting nearsighted individuals at first — people who can already see the display on Glass, but who can't see too far beyond it.
As for Google's own plans for prescription Glass, we know they're coming, we just don't know much else. In May, Google teased that news on prescription support for Glass would come later this year. Though nothing specific has come just yet, Google's recent Glass hardware update is said to bring support for prescription frames. There's still no word on when official frames may come, but it suggests that Rochester Optical may not be the lone prescription provider for long.