Wearable Tech World Feature Article
October 07, 2014

Tzukuri Sunglasses Prove Almost Impossible to Lose

Most of us have lost a pair of sunglasses at one time or another. It's surprisingly easy to do; we often take such things off going indoors, set said item down somewhere and simply forget to pick same back up when we leave. But Tzukuri's new sunglasses are billed as “unloseable” sunglasses, thanks to a sweet slice of wearable tech contained within the sharp, stylish frames.

So what makes Tzukuri's new sunglasses so tough to leave behind? It's a combination of factors that turn Tzukuri sunglasses into what amounts to a pair of Apple-compatible sunglasses. The Tzukuri sunglasses contain a set of tracking beacons in the frames, using Apple's iBeacon technology to allow the sunglasses to, essentially, communicate with a nearby iPhone. From there, the glasses notify the user, via that smartphone connection, when the user has moved away from the glasses in blocks of 15 feet. There's a message at 15 feet out, a second message at 30 feet, and finally, a third message at 45 feet.

Better yet, the glasses can stay continuously recharged thanks to a solar power connection, and after about two hours in full sun, the glasses have the full charge to power the beacon located near the frames' temple. The beacon used is said to be the world's smallest, which makes solar charging more feasible. The glasses are likewise resistant to water, and some reports put these as being waterproof, though there's no mention of depth involved. The lenses, meanwhile, are polarized Carl Zeiss, and the Japanese frames come in either black or tortoiseshell in six styles as well as two sizes. Better yet, there will even be a note of future-proofing here as, sometime around summer 2015, Tzukuri will release an API to give the beacon some extra functionality, like letting other users know when the glasses—and by extension, the wearer—is approaching.

Those interested in laying hands on a set of these will be somewhat disheartened to note that there's a bit of crowdfunding set to take place here, as Tzukuri is taking pre-orders starting next week. With a $100 deposit—refundable up until production actually starts—users can reserve a set of sunglasses from the first batch, due to be shipped in March 2015. The deposit is set to fund the early production run, and those who buy in early can get the glasses for $249. Meanwhile, full retail is $349, for those who don't offer up some grist for the mill, so to speak.

It's a clever enough idea by any stretch; after all, people do lose sunglasses quite a bit, and having a way to easily find said sunglasses again by having an idea of where said sunglasses where when the wearer lost track of same would likely prove valuable. But will users really be interested in shelling out $349 for sunglasses that are almost—but not completely—impossible to lose? That's enough to buy some breeds of tablet or pay a mobile bill for a few months in some cases; is that worth a pair of sunglasses, especially given that said sunglasses really only work with a limited platform?

Still, it will be interesting to see just how well these sell in the long term, and if Tzukuri can find enough users interested in never losing sunglasses again to make these a profitable product line.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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