Bose has finally launched its augmented reality audio wearable sunglasses, or ‘hearables’, the Bose Frames in the UK. Bose has been known for its audio systems which range from speakers to headphones. However, a year ago, the tech company launched its Bose Frames audio augmented reality glasses in the US. Now the product has officially entered the UK market.
— Bose UK (@BoseUK) May 14, 2019
The company yesterday revealed that it would be launching its audio augmented reality glasses in the UK on May 31. As the world moves towards immersive technology and spatial audio, the Bose Frames represent the headphones of the future. The hearables are a multipurpose device that will also protect your eyes from the harmful UVB and UVA rays. Stylishly designed, you can also use them as fashion-wear. The glasses play the music or audio directly into your ears through the use of tiny speakers built into their frames. The design is open-ear. You can also the use Bose glasses to navigate your way hands-free around the streets or to access audio AR apps such as the NaviGuide AR. The user can control or manipulate their environment through simple input such as tapping the sides of the frames, shaking or nodding their heads.
The Bose Frames are more than a gimmick. They offer useful real-world applications and they look good so they are frames that you can wear to the nearest store or on your outdoor excursions without looking creepy. Like all smart glasses, it portends a great future of a heads-up hands-free wearable tech. We are all tired of having our heads glued to the screens of our smartphones or tablets when interacting with apps or content so the hands-free use will prove quite convenient. It is definitely a piece of high-tech fashion that look and feel like regular sunglasses but represents the next trend in tech.
Understanding audio augmented reality
The Bose Frames’ audio augmented reality technology is a one of a kind and no other brand makes products like this. The technology enables users to access and manipulate content through simple head movements. It’s a hands-free heads-up design that frees you up to do stuff without constantly looking at your screen.
Unlike other augmented reality glasses or devices that leverage lenses or camera phones to superimpose visual content on the line of sight or real-world view of a user, the Bose Frames layer or augment audio content. It does this through the use of multi-directional motion sensors which help in detecting the wearer’s head orientation and their location through the use of GPS.
How the Bose Frames Work
The Bose Frames audio augmented reality sunglasses are equipped with tiny speakers in the frames that will rest on your temple in an open-ear design. Unlike other standard open-ear audio designs, the Bose Frames sunglasses do not rely on bone conduction for audio transmission to the ear. Instead, the frames will direct sounds from the temple directly into the user’s ears without much sound leakage. A person sitting next to you will not hear the sound in spite of the open-ear design. According to Bose, only 1% of the sound will leak even at a high volume which is quite incredible!
The frames have a reasonably long battery life. Even when you are playing loud music or audio, the battery life will still stretch you a whole three and a half hours, a fact that has been verified by reviews from users in the US where the sunglasses were first released.
The frames also have controls via a single and discreet multifunction button. You can press it once for a pause, twice to resume and so on. The Bose Frames have a clever functionality where the speakers will automatically turn off when the glasses are laid upside down on a surface.
The sunglasses even have a mechanism for controlling the music selection, phone calls and for accessing the maps to Headspace by using AR technology which you can accomplish by simply shaking your head.
The Bose Frames sunglasses can be synced with smartphones by using Bluetooth which will allow you to play music stored in your phone. Even with the open-ear design used, the audio played will only be heard by the person wearing the sunglasses. Apart from listening to music and other spatial audio applications, the Bose Frames can also be used to receive calls via a small microphone that is positioned in front of the frames.
The frames use audio augmented reality which unlike the standard AR, will change what you hear. It’s an augmented audio as opposed to an augmented visual like in standard AR.
The Frames will be able to detect where you are and in which direction your head is facing through the use of a 9-axis head motion sensor and GPS from your Android or iOS device. It then automatically adds a layer of audio and connects the place and time to other augmented experiences including travel, gaming, entertainment and much more.
The Bose Frames can even be synced to Google Maps and you will hear audio directions as you walk. It can also be synced with a game and you can subsequently control or manipulate the game by simply moving your head.
The Frames come in two styles namely, the Alto and the Rondo. The Alto is a bulkier and more angular in design while the Rondo design is rounder and daintier. The Bose Frames will launch in the UK on May 31 at a retail price of £199.95.
What is included in the package?
For £199.95, you will of course get the Bose Frames, a dust bag which you can also use as a cleaning cloth, a stylish black hard case as well as a USB charger which will magnetically attach to the arms of the Frames. If you need extra lenses, you can buy them separately for £19.99.
There are several apps that you can use with the Bose Frames including the NaviGuide and a free golf app among others. Headspace comes with both free and premium membership options. Users can download the Bose Connect app or use other existing platforms such as Apple Music or Spotify to listen to music.
Where to buy the Bose Frames in the UK
The glasses go on sale on May 31 and you can pre-order them on the Bose UK website. You can also find the Bose Frames audio augmented reality glasses in various UK retail outlets including Apple, Currys, Amazon, Dixons and John Lewis. There will also be available on Argos at a later date.
Are they worth the investment?
Some of the top end sunglasses go for as high as £1000 so for £199.95, the audio AR sunglasses are fairly reasonably priced. They also look fashionable. Beyond the high-tech uses, they can be an integral part of your lookbook. If you want to listen to some music on your regular commute or jog with high-tech and comfortable sunglasses, then the Bose Frames will certainly do the trick.
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