Mars Kapadia, a 16-year-old from Gilbert, Arizona, spent the last 18 months perfecting his prototype, which fuses an easy pair of blue frames with alittle , but mighty Arduino Nano Every to power the operation.
Kapadia has competed in state science fairs since the seventh grade, building everything from a prosthetic hand to a mind-controlled car. He tells Popular Mechanics his inspiration for the smart glasses (11th grade science fair project) came from Tony Stark E.D.I.T.H. intelligence system, encased during a pair of sunglasses.
Because commercially available smart glasses just wouldn’t cut it—Kapadia characterizes Snapchat Spectacles as “strictly a video camera“ and says the now-discontinued line of Google Glass wearables had fundamentally flawed screens—he decided to construct his own smart glasses.
“I’ve always found them interesting, but I never really saw an idea that was very intriguing until I saw The Avengers,” Kapadia says. “That’s once I saw the all-in-one glasses that would literally do everything . From there on, I knew I had to require all my experience and check out and build it into one well-functioning, very advanced product.”
Others are noticing his combat smart glasses. Since posting about his creation on Reddit in July, he received almost 1,000 upvotes, & Arduino even featured Kapadia’s glasses during a company blog post. On YouTube, his video about the smart glasses has received almost 20,000 views.
Kapadia calls the specs the “World’s First TOLED Smart Glasses“, which stands for “Transparent Organic Light Emitting Diode“, Originally, he reached bent manufacturers in China in an effort to style his own custom screen, but eventually selected a prefabricated screen for this first iteration of the glasses.
Kapadia used a transparent display from SparkFun Electronics and incorporated 2 tinted lenses on top that really flip up and down on the frames. That way, users can see the display, plus their surroundings, at any time of day.
An Arduino Nano Every is that the brains of the operation. It supports the Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) within the glasses, which helps in short-distance communication, plus the video library. Kapadia used a lithium-polymer battery to power the glasses, and embedded a Bluetooth module inside to connect his app. Altogether, he spent a small over $200 on the project.
Kapadia even built a custom hinge to rotate the lenses up and down. “I actually had to use a rotary tool to form the casing within the frame . fit my processors and chips inside,” he says. “Then, I also had to spend a short time modifying the open source software in order that it might be utilized in my glasses.”
“THESE GLASSES, THEY REPLACE (MY) SMARTWATCH AND ALMOST REPLACE MY PHONE.”
From there, Kapadia completed countless hours of testing, taking the glasses with him on runs around his neighborhood to ascertain how long the battery life was at various stages, how well the connectivity functioned, and the way he could make his 2nd version even better.
“These glasses, they replace (my) smartwatch and almost replace my phone,” Kapadia says. “So now I’m ready to keep the phone in my pocket as I’m running, to ascertain if I got a text or a call from my mom, or maybe if I wanted to see news.”
Kapadia says he could envision his glasses as a full-fledged product 1 day, but he wouldn’t necessarily be gunning for gamers or everyday consumers. Instead, he looks at the glasses as a chance for construction workers or doctors to ascertain detailed instructions right before their eyes, which could keep their hands free for the particular work.
Moving forward, Kapadia is pursuing a patent for his glasses—he doesn’t want anyone to tear off his hard work—and he hopes to continue growing his YouTube channel so he can fund even more inspired projects. One day, he’d wish to start a man-made intelligence (artificial intelligence) company that makes biomedical devices, kind of like Elon Musk’s Neuralink.