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July 17, 2023

Who is investing in Smart Glasses?

Posted on July 17, 2023 5 minutes 948 words
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Smart glasses, an increasingly popular category within the booming augmented reality (AR) technology, are captivating innovators, tech enthusiasts, and investors alike. These cutting-edge devices, which overlay digital information on the physical world, hold immense potential, both as standalone products and as gateways into immersive digital landscapes or “metaverses.” As this technology continues to evolve and attract considerable investment, one might ask: Who are the key players placing bets on this futuristic tech? Let’s dive in to find out.

Investments by Major Tech Industry Players


Known as an early pioneer in the smart glasses field, Google entered the scene with the unveiling of Google Glass in 2013. While the announcement was met with significant initial interest, the product faced numerous hurdles such as privacy issues, limited functionality, and a high price point.

Undeterred by the challenges, Google shifted its focus towards business applications, resulting in the Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2. This revised model gained traction across diverse professional sectors - from healthcare, where it was employed by surgeons for hands-free access to data during procedures, to manufacturing, where it proved useful in guiding complex assembly tasks.

However, in an unexpected move, Google announced in March 2023 that they would cease sales of the Glass Enterprise Edition. They also mentioned that they would continue to support the product only until September 15, 2023. It remains to be seen how the company will continue to participate in this technological arena going forward.

Facebook (Meta Platforms Inc.)

Pivoting towards an ambitious vision of the future, Facebook rebranded itself as Meta Platforms Inc. in 2021, indicating a strategic move towards constructing an immersive digital-physical ecosystem known as the “metaverse.” Central to this vision is the implementation of wearable AR technology, such as smart glasses. Consequently, Meta is channeling substantial resources into the development of Project Aria, a research initiative aimed at transforming how people engage with the digital world. This vision was further reinforced by Meta’s collaboration with the iconic eyewear brand, Ray-Ban, to launch “Ray-Ban Stories.” These smart glasses, co-designed with Meta, merge everyday fashion with cutting-edge technology, signifying Meta’s dedication to creating a seamless blend of our physical and digital lives.


The once rumored smart glasses project from Apple has finally seen the light of day with the announcement of the Apple Vision Pro at WWDC 2023. This state-of-the-art mixed reality headset, renowned for its seamless integration of the real and digital worlds, marks Apple’s official entry into the smart glasses market. The Vision Pro boasts a revolutionary three-dimensional interface, immersive 3D and Spatial Audio features for transforming entertainment experiences, and enhanced functionality for everyday apps. Furthermore, it exhibits an impressive fusion of comfort and wearability, underpinned by Apple’s commitment to privacy via the innovative Optic ID unlocking system. With the Apple Vision Pro, Apple’s propensity for excellent product design and user experiences will likely be a catalyst for significant advancements in the smart glasses market.


A significant contributor to the AR industry, Microsoft, has its HoloLens mixed reality glasses. These MR glasses offer an immersive experience and are gaining traction in industries ranging from architecture, where designers use them to visualize buildings in 3D, to education, where students employ them to explore complex subjects in a hands-on manner.

Emerging Startups and Innovators

In addition to these tech heavyweights, several startups are making waves in the smart glasses space, attracting noteworthy attention from investors.


This Rochester-based company has carved a niche in both consumer and enterprise markets with its range of smart glasses products. The firm’s devices are lauded for their robust features and practical applications in areas such as telemedicine and remote assistance.

North (Acquired by Google)

Canadian startup North created a buzz in the smart glasses industry with its stylish Focals. Although Google has since acquired North, their pioneering work proved that smart glasses could be both functional and fashionable, attracting a wider consumer base.

Magic Leap

Despite facing early challenges, Florida-based Magic Leap has continued to draw significant investment with its mixed reality glasses. Their technology, which stands out for its high-quality virtual imagery, holds promise in fields like entertainment and gaming.

Xreal (Formerly Nreal)

This Beijing-based startup has been turning heads with their sleek and affordable smart glasses. The company’s Light glasses are applauded for their comfortable fit and smartphone compatibility, bringing AR experiences to a broader audience.

The investment landscape in smart glasses is evolving rapidly, thanks to several key trends:

Increased Use in Professional Sectors

From helping surgeons in the operating room to assisting workers on the assembly line, smart glasses are finding a multitude of practical applications in the professional realm. This increasing industrial usage is attracting significant investment.

Growing Consumer Expectations

As consumers grow more accustomed to wearable tech (like fitness trackers and smartwatches), the demand for consumer-oriented smart glasses is predicted to surge. This trend is likely to draw more funding towards developing user-friendly, affordable, and stylish smart glasses.

Rise of the Metaverse

With the growing ambition to create interconnected digital-physical spaces, or “metaverses,” the need for smart glasses is expected to skyrocket. These devices offer a unique interface for such spaces, further spurring investment.


The wave of investment in smart glasses is a testament to the transformative potential of AR technology. As we move forward, both major tech giants and rising startups will shape this exciting landscape, driven by increasing industrial applications, evolving consumer expectations, and the impending rise of the metaverse. While the journey towards widespread adoption of smart glasses is still in its early stages, the road ahead promises to be thrilling and full of groundbreaking innovation.

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