Health-tech study in the frame

Wearable technology prototype ‘Level’ is being used in a study to determine its health benefits

21 Sep 2016 by Michael Read

An academic study and consumer pilot test will investigate the value of incorporating health-tracking technology into spectacles frames.

The wearable tech that will be used in the study was initially launched in 2015 by innovation hub The Shop, a strand of the larger optics conglomerate VSP Global, and was then developed in partnership with the USC Center of Body Computing (CBC). The resulting frame, which has been branded ‘Level’, is said to “seamlessly integrate health-tracking technology into the temple of an optical frame.”

Participants of the study will receive a pair of the spectacles and its accompanying app. Data will then be collected to explore how participants utilise and value the technology from a health perspective.

Still in its prototype phase, ‘Level’ can track a wearer’s steps, calories burned and activity time, and also includes a convenient ‘Find my glasses’ feature.

Founder and executive director of USC CBC, Dr Leslie Saxon, said: “Our partnership with VSP Global will accelerate research and discovery as to how to create digital health products and experiences that will elevate, enhance and expand the lives of users.

“This study is the first of its kind and will provide a crucial roadmap for validating future products and platforms and for understanding overall consumer health engagement.”

The accompanying app will also sync with VSP Global’s Eyes of Hope initiative, which incentivises wearers by enabling them to accrue points for reaching daily health goals, such as steps taken. Once a certain amount of points has been collected, a sight test and pair of spectacles will be automatically donated on their behalf to someone in need.

Commenting on the Eyes of Hope initiative, co-lead of The Shop, Jay Sales, said: “As a community-based not-for-profit, we’re curious not only about the technology and how it can benefit the individual utilising it, but also about the motivations that drive certain behaviour.

“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.”


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