The introduction of Google Glass in 2013 launched a new wave of smart glasses hype. While Google Glass was met with ambivalence, it fuelled the development of task-specific smart glasses such as Snap’s Spectacles and Everysight’s Raptor augmented reality (AR) smart glasses. Smart glasses technologies, both AR and audio, are still in the early stages of development. However, GlobalData estimates the market to grow to a $2.3bn industry by 2030.


Listed below are the major milestones in the journey of the smart glasses theme, as identified by GlobalData.

1968 – The first head-mounted display (HMD) system, The Sword of Damocles, was created.

1978 – Steve Mann invented the Digital Eye Glass, incorporating an electronic camera and a TV display.

1990 – Former Boeing researcher Thomas P Caudell coined the term “augmented reality”.

1994 – The Bluetooth wireless technology standard was developed by Jaap Haarsten of Ericsson.

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1999 – The first consumer Bluetooth device was launched.

1999 – Battlefield Augmented Reality System (BARS), the first AR wearable device for soldiers, was released.

2011 – Epson unveiled its Moverio BT-100 smart glasses.

2013 – Google started selling a prototype of Google Glass.

2015 – Google announced that it was stopping production of Glass in its present form.

2015 – Lyteshot, an interactive AR gaming platform that utilised smart glasses for game data, was launched.

2016 – Snap unveiled its smart glasses, known as Spectacles.

2017 – Everysight introduced Raptor AR smart glasses, designed specifically for professional cyclists.

2017 – Google re-launched Glass, specifically targeting the enterprise market.

2018 – North launched the first generation of its Focals smart glasses.

2018 – Toshiba introduced its DynaEdge AR100 smart glasses.

2019 – Vuzix’s Blade smart glasses incorporated Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated virtual assistant.

2019 – Bose and Amazon began selling audio smart glasses to consumers.

2020 – Google acquired North for a reported $180m.

2020 – Bose closed its AR operation, spelling the end for its Frames smart glasses.

2022 – Apple and Facebook will launch their own AR smart glasses.

2030 – Smart glasses will be a $2.3bn market, according to GlobalData forecasts.

This is an edited extract from the Smart Glasses – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.