I know two things about smart glasses companies: they love the idea of bone conduction, and their glasses aren’t going to be the next big thing. Now, I realize Snap and Google gave every gadget designer permission to pursue their smart glasses prototype. But just because the big dogs do something, doesn’t mean everyone should. Still, we’ve seen lots of smart glasses startups, and this week, another one launched on Kickstarter called Kai.
Kai is an accessory that clips onto the arm of your regular glasses or sunglasses to make them smart. It’s equipped with a microphone and is entirely controlled through a user’s voice, so someone can tell Kai to order an Uber, call or text someone, or navigate places. The underlying software comes from Houndify. I’ve never tried Houndify, so I can’t speak to how well its voice control works, although back in 2015, Josh Lowensohn tried Hound for The Verge and found it to be pretty fast at picking up commands.
Here’s the thing, so many companies want to make smart glasses the hot consumer product. Here are some handy backlinks. I’m happy everyone is pursuing their dream, but let’s be real: Google and Snap failed to turn smart glasses into a thing even though their products were actually decent looking. Snap says it’s expanding its Spectacles rollout, but still, they’re probably not going to monopolize everyone’s faces. And both Apple and Google have refocused on bettering their voice assistants, so Houndify’s software might not still stack up.
I guess what I’m trying to say is I appreciate you gadget makers, but recognize that smart glasses are already a tough market. Sorry, Kai. Bone conduction and a fat clip-on accessory probably aren’t going to give you your big break. If you’re into Kai, though, it starts at $130.