These ordinary-looking glasses just may be the future of smart eyewear

These innocent looking glasses could be the future of smart eyewear, mainly because they look like any other pair of spectacles. Designed by Japanese eyewear brand Jins, they’re called the Meme, and they combine the functionality of a fitness tracker with health and safety benefits associated with other smart devices worn in-line with the spine. Jins is well established in Japan and China, but will use the Meme to launch the brand in the U.S. and around the world over the coming year.

According to Jins, the head is the ideal part of the body to monitor movement and posture, while our eyes give away a wealth of information on our health, wellbeing, and state of mind. When you’re tired, you don’t blink as much, for example. The Jins Meme not only tracks body movement and position, but it also knows where we’re looking, how often we blink, and whether we’re about to fall asleep.

Electrodes monitor eye movement

The glasses use a set of accelerometer and velocity sensors in one of the arms, and electrooculography (or EOG) electrodes fitted to three spots on the frame, including the nose pads. Amazingly, these electrodes can track blink duration and eye movements in eight different directions. It’s the first time the tech has been used on a consumer device.

The Jins Meme will be able to tell us when we’re getting tired, or our attention levels are fading.

Many of us already track our sleep patterns using a wearable device, but the Jins Meme will be able to tell us when we’re getting tired, or our attention levels are fading. Although these states can be relatively obvious, we often don’t pay attention to the dangers of losing focus. Jins is already working with auto parts manufacturer Denso to use the Meme to make driving or operating machinery safer. By measuring attention levels, the Jins Meme could also find a home in schools and the workplace, as a way of telling us when to take a break, or if a presentation or lesson is interesting.

The Jins Meme’s companion smartphone app will collate all the data, plus collect information on posture, balance, and the usual step count and calorie burn. In the future, the Jins Meme’s precise motion and eye tracking abilities could even be used as a game controller or a healthcare diagnostic tool.

Another step towards wearable tech gaining mainstream acceptance

Usually, all this tech would be squeezed into a device like Google Glass, Epson’s Moverio, or Sony’s SmartEyeglass. Functional, but not exactly inconspicuous. Jins worked with industrial designer Satoshi Wada, who has been responsible for designs including the Audi A6, on the Meme, and the result is an almost “invisible” piece of wearable tech. It’s this aspect which makes the Meme really exciting, because it’s one of the first steps towards acceptable, mainstream wearable products.

The Jins Meme weighs 36 grams without the lenses, which is the equivalent of Google Glass on its own, and is made from a durable, waterproof material. Initially available in the unisex, classic Wellington design seen here, other versions may be available in the future. The battery inside is charged with a Micro USB cable, and should last around 16 hours, depending on use.

Jins will sell the Meme online, in Japan, and in the U.S., once all the important regulations have been met. The price hasn’t been confirmed, but we’re told it’ll be accessible, compared to other smart eyewear products. Jins will be demonstrating the Meme glasses for the first time at CES, and we’ll bring you a hands-on — or face-on, if you like — report from the Las Vegas show.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Wearables

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Product Review

Samsung’s vibrant Galaxy A9 hits the mark with quad camera, misses on the price

Samsung’s new 2018 Galaxy S9 smartphone is a contender in the midrange smartphone world, due to a very special quad-cam setup on the back. It’s made for Instagram fans who want Galaxy S-style features and design, without the big price…
Product Review

Withings Steel HR Sport is a fitness tracker you’ll love wearing

Withings jumps back in the wearables game with the new Steel HR Sport, a hybrid smartwatch that is as much a fitness tracker as it is a timepiece. It's so good that it hasn't left our wrist since we pulled it out of the package.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for October 2018

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Product Review

Mechanical hands might not save the pricey LG Watch W7

LG has a new Wear OS smartwatch, the Watch W7, but it uses a two-year-old Wear 2100 processor, and has no heart rate monitor, no GPS, and no NFC for contactless payments. Is it worth the high $450 price tag? We take a look.
Product Review

Apple's best product isn't the iPhone, it's the Apple Watch

Apple already ruled the smartwatch market with the Apple Watch Series 3, but the Series 4 elevates it to new levels with more screen, a sleeker design, and even an world-first electrocardiogram app that lets you keep tabs on your ticker.
Product Review

Fossil's Q Venture HR packs quality fitness features into stunning, everyday watch

Starting at $255, the Fossil Q Venture HR brings along top-notch health and fitness features without having to sacrifice style for everyday wear. It also includes Google's new Wear OS. Is it the upgrade from Fossil we've been waiting for?
Wearables

The Fitbit Charge 3 is now available for purchase worldwide

Back in August, Fitbit confirmed its new wearable -- the Fitbit Charge 3. The new fitness tracker features a touchscreen OLED display, smartwatch capabilities, enhanced fitness features and more. Here's everything you need to know about it.
Product Review

Garmin's Fenix 5X Plus is built for fitness freaks who fawn over every feature

With onboard music, full-color topographic maps, and new sport metrics, the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus sets a high bar for GPS smartwatches. Find out how it can help boost your performance in our Fenix 5X Plus review.
Deals

The best Apple Watch deals for October 2018

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Outdoors

Garmin’s new Instinct GPS watch is built for the sportsman in all of us

The new Garmin Instinct is a GPS multisport watch for people who love to be outdoors. The $300 Instinct takes the best features of the company's popular Fenix watches and packages them into rugged, military-grade package.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.