High-tech wearables that can be worn over the eyes hold a special place in pop culture canon, and have largely stayed there over the years. Most attempts at a functional piece of technology that could be worn comfortably while still providing lots of compelling content easily have all pretty much crashed and burned. Why would merQ think they have solved these problems?
Their product is the Narwhal Clip-On, a wearable device that attaches to any pair of glasses and instantly upgrades them from merely pieces of glass to a capable digital accessory by adding a digital display and a compartment in which streaming sticks like the Chromecast or the Roku can be inserted. Listen to your favorite content with the retractable Bluetooth headphone, and control it with the trackpad mouse on the rear. The display is also waterproof so your showers can become the theater you always wanted it to be. The future’s cost of entry is $299 CAD (~$260 USD) and backers can start using it June 2015. MerQ’s campaign is aiming for a $85,000CAD (~$74,200) goal.
If the behemoth that is Google tried and spectacularly failed with Glass, I don’t see how the Narwhal really sets itself apart. It adds more computer elements to an interface that doesn’t need it and frankly shouldn’t have it, and it shows: the Narwhal is incredibly ungainly and bulky. Even if the company is looking to streamline it, their reliance on streaming sticks will limit it. High-tech glasses are ultimately limited by technology, and we just don’t have what we need yet to make a compelling, Star Trek-esque version quite yet. Let’s not jump the gun.