Nimo smart glasses are like a PC for your eyes

This article is an episode of Future Explored, a weekly guide to world-changing technology. You can get stories like this straight to your inbox every Thursday morning by subscribe here.

An Indian startup’s new smart glasses are designed to make working on the go easier by creating a hybrid reality workspace, but will it deliver?

The challenge: Using multiple monitors not only does it look cool, but it can make your digital workspace less cluttered and increase productivity, by reducing time wasted opening and closing windows.

Once you’re used to working on multiple monitors, it can feel downright overwhelming to switch to a single laptop screen while working away from your desk.

Nimo smart glasses have a built-in processor and battery – no need to connect to a smartphone or laptop.

In the past, this was a problem that most people only had to deal with while traveling for work or during the occasional work vacation. But during the pandemic, millions of people have started working remotely, and experts predict many will. never come back in the office full time.

While some of these new homeworkers have the luxury of a dedicated office space where they can set up multiple monitors, many have found themselves constantly working on a single laptop screen at the kitchen table.

Nimo connected glasses: Indian startup Nimo Planet wants to ensure that remote workers never have to feel cramped in their real-world setup again.

The company is now accepting reservations for its Nimo smart glasses, which it recently demonstrated for Wired on Zoom. These glasses let you see up to six virtual screens at once without having to lug around extra monitors. You can look straight ahead to see your browser, for example, then turn your head left to check your email.

You won’t even need to bring your laptop with you, if you don’t want to – the glasses have a built-in processor and battery, making it a standalone computer on your face.

Nimo Planet plans to start shipping its smart glasses to customers in parts of India and the United States in the first half of 2023. Reservations cost $19, and the full price of Nimo smart glasses is $799.

The specifications of the specifications: According to the Nimo Planet website, the glasses can connect to WiFi, and you can pair them with a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard. You can also use your smartphone as a trackpad or click on objects by looking at them and then tapping the arm of the glasses.

The specifications run on their own operating system (​Nimo OS), which is a forked version Android and can support “thousands of productivity apps designed for Android and the web,” according to Nimo.

“The operating system manages native Android apps to run on multiple screens and divides apps into multiple windows,” Nimo Planet CEO Rohildev Nattukallingal told Wired. “Developers don’t need to make any changes to support Nimo OS.”

“In the future we will have [a software development kit] developers to create improved applications for Nimo,” he added.

“We want to make the hardware as simple as possible and make sure multi-screen productivity works flawlessly.”

Rohildev Nattukallingal

The current version of the Nimo smart glasses weighs 120 grams (slightly less than a baseball), but the company says specs will drop to 90 grams at launch. They only estimate 2.5 hours of standalone battery life, but the glasses will come with a carrying case that also functions as a charging station.

The glasses have a microphone for voice commands, but they don’t having a camera, speakers or many other features you might expect from a pair of smart glasses – it’s by design, according to Nattukallingal.

“We want to make the hardware as simple as possible and make sure multi-screen productivity works flawlessly,” he said.

“Everything else is secondary to us…all great companies are focused on building the next mixed reality world, but our approach is more about helping someone work anywhere without compromising productivity,” said he continued.

The trend: Nimo Planet is not the first company to develop smart glasses for productivity.

Lenovo released its ThinkReality A3 Smart Glasses in 2021, and unlike Nimo’s glasses, these have a built-in speaker. However, they also need to be connected to a PC, or a Motorola smartphone, via a cable, and they cost $1,499.

Chinese electronics company TCL Technology, meanwhile, released its NxtWear Air smart glasses in limited quantities in 2021, and it plans to release a updated model in 2022. These also had built-in speakers, and at around $680 they were more affordable than Lenovo’s or Nimo Planet’s bezels. However, they also need to be connected to a computer or phone.

The bottom line: There’s reason to think twice about putting a down payment on a pair of Nimo smart glasses, though – Nattukallingal was previously the founder and CEO of Fin Robotics, a startup that funded a smart ring that never shipped it to many of its backers.

If his new venture can deliver, however, the smart glasses could be an incredibly useful and affordable device for people who travel a lot and want to be as productive on the go as they are at home or in the office.

We would love to hear from you! If you have a comment about this article or have a tip for a future Freethink story, please email us at [email protected].

Sarah C. Figueiredo