Wearable Tech Breaks New Ground with Level™ Frames

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Meet Level™, the next generation of sensor-enabled eyewear produced by our innovation lab, The Shop.

Formerly known as Project Genesis, the prototype is the first wearable from a healthcare company to seamlessly integrate health-tracking technology in the temple of an optical frame.

One year after announcing a partnership with the University of Southern California’s Center for Body Computing, The Shop is ready to debut Level as part of a large pilot study with the university.

Check out the video:

COOL FRAMES—WHO DESIGNED THEM?
The frames come in three new unisex styles, designed by The Shop, and manufactured by our eyewear company, Marchon, in Italy.

Leslie Muller

Leslie Muller, The Shop

“The new Level frames forced us to reimagine the entire design and manufacturing process for eyewear,” said Leslie Muller, co-lead of The Shop. “Designers collaborated with firmware

and biomedical engineers, who collaborated with traditional eyewear craftspeople to produce something that is both technologically advanced but still seamless and beautiful. As with any wearable, Level is as much about fashion and individual expression as it is about the brilliant technology inside.”

With a nod to innovation, each frame is named after a major innovator throughout history, including Marvin Minsky, Nikola Tesla and Hedy Lamarr.

WHAT ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY?
Since the project is still in prototype mode, we wanted to keep things simple for now. The sensors include a magnetometer, accelerometer and a gyroscope to track steps, calories burned and activity time. The app, to which the frames sync wirelessly via Bluetooth, also has the ability to locate your frames should you misplace them.

THERE’S AN APP?
Heck yeah there is. The all-new app was built by The Shop as well, featuring a fully redesigned interface and functionality. Taking it a step further (no pun intended), Level will also sync with VSP Global’s Eyes of Hope program. As users reach daily step goals, they accrue points. Once a certain number of points are achieved, that user will trigger the donation of a comprehensive eye exam and pair of glasses to someone in need.

“As a community-based not-for-profit, we’re curious not only about the technology and how it can benefit the individual utilizing it, but also about the motivations that drive certain behavior,” said Jay Sales, co-lead of The Shop. “Connecting Level to our Eyes of Hope initiative was a perfect way to  explore how technology within a platform as common as eyewear could increase health and wellness as well as empathy and opportunity for someone in need.”

Jay Sales, The Shop

Jay Sales, The Shop

SO WHAT DOES USC HAVE TO DO WITH ALL OF THIS?
We learned a lot from our employee beta test last year and are now ready to go even bigger. We’re partnering with the University of Southern California’s Center for Body Computing for a large-scale pilot test and academic study with a group of USC employees.

While we can’t go into specific detail on the study itself, we can share that it will be administered through the Center for Body Computing in partnership with the USC Roski Eye Institute. In general, The Shop will study user interaction with the Level platform and receive tons of feedback and input from a diverse set of users. That feedback will inform future iterations of the project.

WHAT’S THE ULTIMATE GOAL HERE?
We want to explore the concept of Contextual Health, which for VSP is the idea of enriching traditional medical records with context from daily living. Imagine a connected device—like a fitness tracker—providing ongoing and updated information about you. Activity times. Calories burned. Heart rate. The list goes on. Over time, that input becomes a rich data set that, when layered into a patient’s traditional medical record, could paint a more holistic understanding of their health.

We already know that regular visits to your eye doctor are a key to overall health and wellness.

“We’ve found that a visit to the eye doctor is often a person’s entry point into the healthcare system,” said VSP Global Board Member Ryan Wineinger, OD. “In addition to identifying conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, comprehensive eye exams can also detect signs of other serious health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and even multiple sclerosis. To explore how technology inside a frame can further strengthen the link between a patient and their eye doctor is a natural extension to the role the eyes play in overall health and wellness today.”

Recent survey data also points to huge upticks in public acceptance and interest in wearable tech:

  • 57% of people are excited about wearable tech in everyday life (PwC)
  • 49% of people already own a wearable (PwC)
  • 78% of patients want their doctor to have access to data from their wearable in order to provide more personalized care (Salesforce)

HOW DO I GET A PAIR?
We’re still in testing mode (hence the pilot study with USC), so Level isn’t quite ready for a mass release just yet. We want to do this right. And that involves understanding how a platform like Level can bring real value to peoples’ lives—not just another wearable novelty.

Let us know in the comments if a platform like Level would interest you!

Level frames come in three shapes and an array of modern colors: (l-r) Hedy, Nikola and Minsky.

63 Comments

  • Sheila Black says:

    I love the idea of a wearable but I don’t want an enormous watch on my wrist. Since I already wear glasses, I would probably be able to adapt easily to this kind of wearable tech.

  • Renee Rushefski says:

    I want these frames! I always forget to put my Fitbit on but I cannot do anything without my glasses! This seriously solves all my problems. Please please please let me know how I can get my hands on them once they’re available to the public. I’m happy to test them out as well!

  • Tami Ortiz says:

    Yes please!

  • Ken Strominger says:

    I have had a lengthy career in the sports industry. When you are ready I want get involved with Level on the marketing, sports marketing/business development front.

  • Diana says:

    How do we sign up for a the trial.

  • thomas OKANE, OD says:

    Very interested in this new technology. Count our practice in!

  • Shawn Sparrow says:

    I would be interested in this type of eyewear platform. Would it be available in a transition bifocal lens as well?

  • I have worn glasses all my life. I would gladly be a test subject for the active over 65 crowd.

  • I would love to try these new tech infused frames! I don’t have a fitbit of any sort because I work in the jewelry industry and none of them are very fashion forward. I do wear glasses though, and having the tech embedded in them would be a huge bonus. Being able to participate as a test user would be the only way I could afford to experience this new combined fashion/technology piece, so if at all possible, please sign me up!

  • Gregory Eglen says:

    Nice! Let me know when these are available for purchase.

  • Sara Drost says:

    May I be a part of your trial? What an interesting idea to have tech glasses.

  • Rick says:

    I have even more advanced programs on my phone, and it’s probably a heck of a lot cheaper. When they can track my heart rhythms, blood pressure, pain levels by nerve response, eye pressure, etc.. Then it will be worth the cost I’m sure these will bring in it’s infancy stage. Till then, I will use my Cell phone, and links to my Doctor which is affordable.

  • Laurel says:

    I’m intrigued and interested!

  • Andrea says:

    Are there any lens coatings or filters designed into the glasses to ease eye strain for those of us that work at computers all day? Personally, this is a concern as we spend more time using technology screens. I am very interested.

  • Cathy Gaddy says:

    First thing I put on in the morning and last thing I take off at night. I really like this idea.

  • Christie Johnson says:

    I am a diabetic and also have Fibro so I’m trying to get healthier. These glasses would be awesome! Is there a way to sign up for a trial pair?

  • Geri McCann says:

    I would Love to have a pair of these, too. I hope that you will consider making them affordable. For myself, I want to think that “60 is the new 40” so technology and innovation are my friends! Love the concept and idea of technologically advanced glasses!!! Thank you!!!

  • Scott says:

    These would be extremely fun to try. Even better if they could one day display augmented results on the lenses.

  • Noreen says:

    Sound very interesting, but as a nurse I have concern about the device being so close to the brain.

  • Charlene says:

    I am interested in this as well. I don’t currently own any kind of tracker due to expense, etc. but I have a couple of autoimmune conditions that can affect my vision; A couple of the medications I take can also effect my vision. Having to go to the eye doctor every 6 months gets to be a pain due to the extra vision testing which is medically necessary bc of my health issues. This would be a great way to assist with tracking of my health in addition to the regular follow up appts with my physicians.

  • Carey Carter says:

    would try it – i like things simple and always in a hurry….. and forgetting things, like glasses….

  • anthony says:

    Very interesting! This mode of health data once perfected should be an effective aid in promoting healthy lifestyle although could be cost prohibitive to a large portion of society. Age will also probably a limiting factor
    , but should be pursued.

  • Nichelle R. says:

    As a person that is trying to “get back” her college athletic physique I currently wear either a Polar Loop or a Garmin Vivofit. The idea of a wearable “hidden” device is intriguing. I would love to compare the data from the wrist device versus Level. If you need another tester….sign me up!

  • L Rivera says:

    I’d wear it for sure! Of course it all depends on affordability.

  • Toni Zanger says:

    What a great idea; the next step would be to come up with a technology where the lenses would adjust as your eyes change. As someone who has constant changing eyes that would be huge.

  • I like the frames. How much do they cost?

  • Heidi says:

    Really interested in these!

  • CAROL MILLER says:

    Yes, love the idea. I am ready for this new technology.

  • CAROL MILLER says:

    I am excited to try this new technology.

  • Dru says:

    I would be interested, depending on how the frames fit on my small face, and of course dependent on the expense.

  • P J says:

    I really would like to participate, I try to keep up with my steps so I can determine how it affects a1c.

  • What an interesting concept. I would be onboard with trying a pair. I welcome new technology and to have it in a pair of eye wear is crazy!

  • Edward says:

    how do can i get them?

  • Rocky Couey says:

    Enjoyed reading about innovations in eyewear. Where you been for the last 50 years ? Also I am wide at the area that frames are sitting , so is this a problem when the lens project does finally come to market? Other words “wide frames needed” . Thank You for your efforts.

  • oh my gosh, heck yes! I have a fit bit and it breaks my wrist out…plus its bulky and sweaty…however, I go nowhere w/ out my glasses! Is there going to be a user trial? Please sign me up!

  • I’d wear the red ones today! They’re cute and I could wear a watch instead of a tracker on my wrist!

  • Tad says:

    I would love to sign up for the trials!!!

  • Jimmy Andrews says:

    I am intrigued by the idea and would be interested in further info. re: the pilot program and how to become a part of the study.

  • tuyet truong says:

    I would like to have a metal frame with nose pads. I cann’t wear plastic. Could you come up with a version that is not plastic and have the nose support.

  • Heidi Nugent says:

    I love my fitbit and the idea of being able to track my own activity but I’m blown away with the idea of my health being able to be tracked and ultimately improved by only having to put on what I already put on. This is exciting and I can’t wait to try it out.

  • Floretta says:

    I love the idea, and would like to be part of the trail.

  • Juan P says:

    this is a very interesting approach. I would like to know if the weight of the frame is increased significantly and how much does a charge last. I wear glasses all day long so this would mean one less device to worry about.

  • Wendy says:

    I would love to test a pair! I workout regularly at the gym (3 days/wk) and try to meet my walking goals each day, but more often than not, I forget my tracker. I wouldn’t forget my glasses because I wear them all the time!

  • Kathy Giraud says:

    I would love to be part of your test I feel I would be a great candidate for these glasses. Please let me know when these will become available. Thank you

  • Dr Amy A Treski says:

    I love the idea. I think my patients would be very interested. Let me know when they are available and I would be also be interested in being part of the trial

  • What a great Idea. I already where I hope the glasses are lightweight and reasonably priced. I would use it to show my mother her lack of activity and also be able to track her health easily and the doctor is capturing live, accurate informa r ion.

  • […] new frames were developed in the company’s innovation lab, The Shop. VSP calls the frames Level. Level frames currently have three sensors embedded in the temple including a magnetometer, an […]

  • Paddy Kalish says:

    Great concept. Hope that it gets actualized soon!

  • Joyce Karushis says:

    Absolutely. First in line. Even with the ugly frames I’ll be there

  • Carol V says:

    I think this is a great way to increase awareness of my daily activity and hope that you will consider me in your trial! Please choose me!

  • Jennie says:

    I would love to be a part of the trial! I will be 50 years old in a few months. I agree with many of the comments above. I really like that Level is synced with the Eyes of Hope Program for charitable purposes; it will not only help others in need but it will also help me stay fit!

  • Geoff says:

    Would love to be a part of this. Let me know when this is ready to launch!

  • Michael says:

    Love the idea of tech glasses. Would also like Blue speakers as well with microphone for hands free calling. Would have to wear fitness band. needs to support Apple, google and windows OS.

  • Dennis Beswick says:

    Would also love to be a part of this trial…. Active over 60 on the computer a lot!

  • Dennis Beswick says:

    These sound great! Like everyone else…I would love to volunteer for the trial. I am 64 active…on the computer and phone alot!

  • I’ve already consulted for a company on wearables and have written two books on computer vision issues- sounds like this is right up my alley!! Would be glad to work with you on this development.

  • Arshad says:

    from where can I get more information about how this technology works and what exactly it does?

  • James Crowe says:

    Great idea!Please sign me up if the program is still available. I’ve worn a Nike+Fitband for several years and it helps my motivation to keep moving.

  • […] no cameras, no screens. Other contenders in this space include Zungle Panther sunglasses and VSP Level […]

  • […] no cameras, no screens. Other contenders in this space include Zungle Panther sunglasses and VSP Level […]

  • beverley says:

    I would like a trial pair.

  • Bruce says:

    I would love to wear this technology, can’t wait until it is available. Can one sign up for a trial or be part of a research group?

  • I would wear them in a heart beat! If you need people for trial I would love to be one.I wear glasses and I wear a Garmin.

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