North Raises $130 M to Launch its Focals Smartglasses with Investors Including Amazon

Focals smartglasses
Image: North

Thalmic Labs, an Ontario-based startup has changed its name to ‘North’ and launched a pair of smartglasses that are customized to your face.

The company already raised $130 million with backers including Amazon, Intel, and top-tier venture capitalists, reports Business Insider.

The smartglasses look like regular glasses that one can wear every day. The glasses are customized to your face and sells for $1,299.

The company said that the Focals aren’t fully augmented reality glasses, like Microsoft HoloLens, but instead they are your everyday glasses.

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The holographic display can only be seen by the wearer, and allows you to respond to texts, notifications, reminders, get directions, check the weather, call an Uber. Focals also come with Alexa built-in. Ask Alexa to play music, hear the news, see the weather, control your smart home and more.

Loop, a four-directional joystick, is used for interaction by pressing on it to click. This allows you to do things without lifting your hand. The glasses come with a Loop, charging case and sun clips. The battery is supposed to last about 18 hours.

Focals smartglasses
Image: North

“We’re not focused on unicorns jumping over rainbows or monsters coming out of the wall,” Thalmic Labs CEO Stephen Lake told Business Insider. “It’s about having a product that’s going to be useful for you throughout the day all day.”

“Throughout the day, it’s wearable, it’s comfortable, and give valuable bits of information that make sense at the time,” he continued.

North is more focused on providing a heads-up display for users and that brings the price up, as does the included remote control ring and designer styling that look nothing like the usual smart glasses.

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The glasses do not have a built-in camera, removing any possible privacy concerns such as was seen with Google Glass.

North was founded in 2012 by three graduates of the University of Waterloo’s mechatronics engineering program: Stephen Lake, Matthew Bailey and Aaron Grant.