It feels like we’ve been talking about Google Glass for a long time, so much so that you would be forgiven for thinking there is nothing more to say on the subject. Yet there are other high-tech smart glasses out there, all of which can do things Google Glass can’t. So rather than harp on about when Glass will be available, how people feel about the security implications or what new app is now supported, let’s take a look at the alternatives and see if we can find some serious competition that will make Google sit up and take heed.

1. Meta

Meta glasses

If you have ever dreamed of using a hologram-like display, similar to what is used by Iron Man, then you’ll definitely want to explore Meta. The glasses are made up of a two-part system; a 3D output display and a 3D scanner. Effectively they have the same amount of power as a laptop, smartphone and augmented reality, all crammed into a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses.

It’s the output display that allows you to see the hologram, while the scanner scans the surrounding environment and then tells  the computer where to place the graphics in relation to the wearer of the glasses.

The Californian start-up began as a Kickstarter campaign, which managed to raise $200,000. SpaceGlasses.com is where you can pre-order a pair of these specs at a cost of $3,650.

2. Light Therapy Glasses

light therapy glasses

Millions of people worldwide are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). One of the common treatments for the disorder is light therapy, often in the form of a special lamp or light box, which can mimic natural sunlight, helping suffers get relief from the depression, anxiety and mood swings, which are common symptoms.

However Troy Hudson, a 22-year old student from the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design realized that these light lamps or boxes were fine for when a sufferer is lounging at home but didn’t help them while they were out and about. So he designed a pair of glasses that beam simulated sunlight into the wearer’s peripheral vision, tricking the body into thinking it’s a summer’s day. The advantage is the glasses can go with the wearer anywhere, so there’s no longer any need for sufferers of SAD to sit for hours on end in one room.

3. Avegant Glyph

Glyph

You may remember we reported on this head-mounted “personal theatre” from Avegant on TechBeat some time ago, which smashed through its Kickstarter goal in just four hours. Glyph is a media-centric device that combines high-end headphones and a headband that can be lowered, transforming it into an immersive display.

Images are projected straight on to the retina using a complex series of LEDs and mirrors, much like how our eyes actually work so the overall experience is more real. Avegant is hoping that Glyph will have a wide appeal due to the fact that it can be used as a set of headphones or as a personal theatre, with content from sources like Netflix and Xbox.

We want to know what you think of smart glasses, are they something you’d consider buying or is it just an expensive gimmick?

[Image via Kickstarter]