If you pass a pair of Epiphany Eyewear sunglasses on the street, you probably won’t look twice.
The company makes normal-looking sunglasses and glasses that are on trend. But if you look closely at the top right corner of the shades, you’ll see a small camera lens.
Epiphany Eyewear’s products subtly record video with the press of a button on the side of the frame. The glasses come with 8 GB, 16 GB or 32 GB of storage. Depending on which pair you get, you’ll spend $US300 to $US500. The glasses hook into a computer and you upload the video to an online account. You can’t take photos with the device, but Epiphany has software that you can use to capture stills from the videos you upload.
Erick Miller and John Rodriguez co-founded the company in 2011, before Google Glass was announced. Miller worked on the idea as a graduate student at UCLA and poured his life savings into building the product.
The pair ran a successful Indiegogo campaign and were later backed by Quora co-founders Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever. One of Tim Draper’s funds is also an investor in Epiphany Eyewear. The company is based in Palo Alto. Miller says the battery can last long enough to record up to two hours of video.
When asked how it felt to hear Google announce a similar product last year, Miller shrugged and said, “They’re known for copying startups.”
Right now, Epiphany Eyewear only sells directly to consumers. But we watched a number of retailers walk up to Miller at the South By Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, including Walmart Labs and Wearables.com, who were interested in selling its products.
Unlike Google Glass, you can’t take photos with the product or use apps. There’s no “OK Glass”-like voice command and you can’t get notifications from your smartphone. But if you want to have a stylish, GoPro-like product strapped to your face, Epiphany makes a good solution. Miller says his shades have been warn by runway models, reporters filming protests, and snowboarders.
Here’s a photo of Miller wearing his own product at the SXSW exhibit.