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

Stallone in Terminator 2? How one deepfake prankster is changing cinema history

Ever wanted to see The Shining with Jim Carrey instead of Jack Nicholson? How about Stallone in Terminator 2: Judgement Day instead of everyone's favorite governator? Thanks to deepfakes, it's now possible -- just ask YouTuber Ctrl Shift…
Deals

Amazon knocks 15% off price of the Fitbit Versa ahead of Prime Day

Whether or not you’re a fitness buff, you’ll surely find love with the Fitness Versa Smartwatch. After all, it’s named “Versa” for its versatility. Take advantage of Amazon's early Prime Day deal and get yours for only $169.
Product Review

The Safe by Hub6 monitors your alarm system to free you from monthly fees

If paying your monthly alarm monitoring fees have got you seeing red, but you don’t want to scrap your perfectly good alarm system, we’ve got good news. The $250 Safe by Hub6 lets your alarm system talk to you directly without monthly…
Product Review

BMW gives the M4 CS additional performance cred, but it comes with lots of tradeoffs

Splitting the difference between the standard M4 and the hardcore track setup of the limited-production M4 GTS, the CS brings with it a sharper look to match its sharper performance, but there are some caveats involved.
Deals

Walmart cuts prices on Apple Watch and Fitbit smartwatches before Prime Day

We've been monitoring Prime Day smartwatch deals over the last week or so, and many of the most attractive sales appear to be on fitness watches. Apple and Fitbit, in particular, are offering discounts on the Versa and Series 3 models.
Deals

Best Buy drops prices on Apple Watch Series 4 before Prime Day

With Walmart and Amazon butting heads, Best Buy has decided to drop a few sneaky Apple Watch Series 4 deals into the mix to spice things up. We are seeing more and more Prime Day smartwatch deals go live as the event draws near.
Deals

Best Prime Day Apple deals: iPad, MacBook, and AirPods discounts

Prime Day is officially here, and there are still some nice Apple deals to be had during Amazon's big event. We’ve rounded up iPads, Macbooks, and more, along with a quick and handy guide detailing what Apple deals you can expect to find.
Deals

Best Prime Day Apple deals: iPads, MacBooks, and Apple Watches

Prime Day is officially here, and there are still some nice Apple deals to be had during Amazon's big event. We rounded up a few right here, along with a quick and handy guide detailing what Apple deals you can expect to find.
Apple

At just $169, Amazon Prime Day now has the best deal on the Apple Watch Series 3

Amazon Prime Day comes once a year, and with it, you'll find the best deals on your favorite Apple products. Right now, the Apple Watch Series 3 is just $169. Get yours while supplies last.
Deals

Amazon drops the price of Garmin Vivofit Jr. activity trackers down to $70

You can get various electronics for children during Prime Deal 2019. Check the deal on the Real Flower and Broken Lava Garmin Vivofit Jr. fitness bands. They are available on Amazon for $70 during the 48-hour sale.
Deals

Amazon slices 46% off Microsoft Surface headphones for Prime Day

Microsoft's first attempt at headphones was a good start, however, their $350 retail price is a little steep. Prime Day 2019 has the answer to that issue: A 46% price cut that's only good through Tuesday night, so act quickly.
Deals

Amazon’s Prime Day price on the Garmin Forerunner 235 is the best we’ve seen

We've covered deals on the Garmin Forerunner 235 on Amazon and elsewhere quite frequently, but Amazon's Prime Day deal by far beats any other price we've seen for this smartwatch, either new or used. You'll save 58% through Tuesday.
Wearables

The Best Prime Day smartwatch deals: Fitbit, Samsung, and Apple Watch discounts

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is around the corner, and while there are likely to be deals on TVs, gaming consoles, and more, there will also likely be some great deals on smartwatches. Here's what we know about all the smartwatch deals.
Deals

Best Prime Day smartwatch deals: Apple Watch, Fitbit Versa, and Samsung Galaxy

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is finally here, bringing with it a number of great smartwatch deals. Whether you're into Apple's Apple Watch, or prefer a smartwatch that has Google's Wear OS wearable operating system, there should be a something for…