A First Look at Focals by North

North’s first retail location in Canada may look like a regular designer eyewear store, but inside, customers are offered a glimpse of the future. The company, formerly Thalmic Labs, has rolled out a pair of augmented reality eyeglasses that are both fashionable and functional. They’re called Focals, and they cost more than $1000 Canadian.

Focals are smart glasses. They include a hidden holographic display that project light onto the frame. This augments your reality to layer on important digital information. Focals can tell you the weather, give you directions, display text messages, and help call you an Uber. There’s also features you’d expect, including a smartphone processor and connectivity to your phone. Come with me as I take you inside North’s retail location on Ossington Avenue in Toronto where I’m fitting for my very own pair of smart glasses.

***CORRECTION*** The script in the video inaccurately describes the way the projector inside Focals works. The light is projected onto the frame, not onto your eye. The light passes to the lens first, with the lens reflecting the light back into your eye enabling the user to see the display.

Amanda Cosco
Amanda is a freelance journalist and consultant focused on the intersection of fashion and technology and the founder of Electric Runway.

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