Bosch claims breakthrough which could turn any spectacles into smartglasses

By Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent

A new computer module created by Bosch can be used to turn any pair of glasses into smartglasses, the company has claimed.

The new Bosch Smartglasses Light Drive can be fitted to any spectacles and will enable users to see notifications and use apps through their glasses rather than on a mobile phone or smartwatch.

The company said the size of the turnkey module used for the system has 30% less depth than any other comparable smartglasses system, and weighs less than 10 grams.

As a result, any traditional spectacles could be upgraded to become smartglasses for the first time.

The system uses a light beam which scans a holographic element embedded in the lens of the glasses, which is then redirected on to the human retina.

As a result, Bosch said the holographic menu that appears in front of the user’s eyes is always in focus.

The firm said this means the image remains clear even in direct sunlight.

Dr Stefan Finkbeiner, chief executive of Bosch Sensortec, said: “The smartglasses system, BML500P (XY), is the smallest and lightest product on the market today and is, therefore, able to turn any regular spectacles into smartglasses.

“By eliminating distracting phone usage, smartglasses can help improve driving safety and reduce the impulse of users to constantly check their mobile devices for notifications or messages.”

(Bosch Sensortec/PA)

The company said the glasses will support the ability to be used for navigation, as well as to check and mark off to-do and shopping lists and read notifications from messaging apps.

Early versions of smartglasses have so far failed to achieve great commercial success.

Google Glass launched in 2013 but the tech giant stopped manufacturing units for the public in 2015 after a range of issues were highlighted, including battery life and the weight of the device.

An “enterprise” version of Google Glass does remain available.

Snapchat parent company Snap has also launched several versions of smartglasses, primarily as an alternative way to capture images and video that can be posted to a user’s Snapchat profile.

Bosch has confirmed it will launch the Light Drive in January at CES, the annual technology trade show which takes place in Las Vegas.