The devices that ate everything – smartphones – are now extending themselves to their users’ faces by plugging into spectacles. Just ask Solos AirGo, a Hong Kong start-up supplier of optical glasses that features an in-house developed mobile app linking the spectacles to smartphones. Integrating digital health tracking, audio entertainment and personal assistance into one via the app, Solos AirGo is poised to take smart glasses to the mass market. Featuring detachable smart temples, these smart glasses provide motivation to help users achieve fitness goals and feature patented Whisper audio technology to help noise cancellation. Users can snap the rectangular temple pieces, on different frames according to their shape, size, colour and material preference, said the start-up’s General Manager, Kenny Cheung. The spectacles have a suggested retail price of US$299.“When people call me, I can just tap on my glasses to take the call,” said Mr Cheung, wearing his product. “I also use the glasses to read WhatsApp messages, and when I’m out running, as I can listen to music while listening to my running pace – I don’t need to check my watch or wear ear buds anymore.” Offering six styles of frames, the start-up is currently raising funds on Kickstarter for the Solos AirGo, with 305 backers and HK$501,244 raised so far – just over the target of HK$500,000. “Most of our supporters were initially from Hong Kong but now we have backers from Mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore as well as the United Kingdom and United States,” Mr Cheung said, adding that they are on track to start shipment in April, with an aim to ship out all glasses to backers before June.Offering six styles of frames, the start-up is currently raising funds on Kickstarter for the Solos AirGo, with 305 backers and HK$501,244 raised so far – just over the target of HK$500,000. “Most of our supporters were initially from Hong Kong but now we have backers from Mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore as well as the United Kingdom and United States,” Mr Cheung said, adding that they are on track to start shipment in April, with an aim to ship out all glasses to backers before June.
Taking on consumer market
A tech start-up spun off from Kopin Corporation, which has developed smart glasses for the US military and also worked with Google Glass, Solos was established to focus on developing smart glasses for the mainstream market. It debuted its first smart glasses, the US Olympian-approved smart cycling glasses Solos Sports, in 2019 following a successful Kickstarter campaign. Its second generation of Solos smart glasses represents a big leap as they are now firmly in the mainstream consumer market with a strong lifestyle focus, Mr Cheung said. “Solos AirGo are glasses you can wear all day, every day … they’re no different from normal eyewear.”Mr Cheung joined Kopin in 2016, when the company was mainly focused on the US market within the niche market of cycling. It launched the second-generation product so it could reach out to other markets more easily, he said. One difficulty was sizing the glasses to fit a wide range of head sizes. “We couldn’t do a one size fits all… a lot of people have tried, but it’s too difficult.” Now a user can select a correctly fitting detachable frame. It is the first smart-glass brand to possess this feature, Mr Cheung said.Solos - an exhibitor at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council's HKTDC International ICT Expo - is based at the Hong Kong Science Park. The firm originally planned to have its grand opening in February, with a pop-up event in March but now plans to make its official debut in April or May. Mr Cheung has been based at the park since 2005 and said it brings many good networking opportunities. He hopes to link up with other brands in the smart-living sector once the start-up launches.