"ZEISS Smart Lenses get right what Google Glass got wrong." (Wired, January 2016)

Internet of Things

With an internal start-up, without an enormous budget, ZEISS managed to achieve something that Internet giant Google failed to do, even with huge budget: to create data glasses that don’t look like data glasses – and they feature Augmented Reality (AR) functions for the mass market. In less than 12 months, a start-up team within the company delivered a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). With the ZEISS Smart Data Glasses, similar to a head-up display, a ‘flying screen’ appears in front of your eyes that can display relevant information and also videos, but unseen by others. The prototype was one of the highlights at the CES in Las Vegas: the innovative solution made in Germany was listed as one of the top ten gadgets by the US magazine Wired.

ZEISS Smart Optics
ZEISS Smart Optics

Digital vision through powerful lenses
ZEISS has a reputation for optics, so the idea to combine the highly developed craftsmanship in optical lenses with innovative digital solutions is rather obvious. The result, however, and the way ZEISS got there is special. The lenses that are used in the data glasses by ZEISS make use of a special structure, so called Fresnel lenses. The principle is known from lighthouses, where it makes ultra-flat, yet extremely powerful lenses possible which focus the light to guide ships. The innovators at ZEISS integrated this structure into the glasses in order to project data into the field of vision without the need of an external prism or anything like that – the look and feel does not differ much from normal eyewear. Combined with a powerful digital unit, the future becomes reality.

How to launch new product innovations successfully?
Another huge challenge is to bring brilliant ideas to the market and make them a success. In order to get there, the internal Start-up Smart Optics struck a new path within the Carl Zeiss AG. It showed mass manufacturability, reaching target cost and clear focus on customer needs of an optical invention for a data glass application within 10 months. Driving down the time of development and overheads by increasing the iteration speed in parallel is a key aspect to reduce the inventions time to market. Being fast is one of the key criteria if the window of opportunity opens for a new product segment – and agile processes are the way of choice to get there.

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  1. Qiurui Hu

    Dear Mathias,

    We are interested in your ZEISS Smart Data Glasses. Do you have any plan to display your products at any exhibition?


  2. Corporate Communications

    Dear Qiurui,
    many thanks for your interest in ZEISS technology. To get a full smart glass solution ready for a public exhibition, progress in many areas beside the optical System is required. For instance also in displays, electronics, operating system, software applications user interfaces and connectivity. Therefore, it is too early to announce a date for a public presentation. Once we know when and where to exhibit, we will let you know.
    Best regards,
    Corporate Communications

  3. O. K. Overland

    Hi, where can I find more information on this product? Will there be a developer program? etc..

    1. Corporate Communications

      Dear O.K. Overland,

      thank you very much for your interest in ZEISS technology. We announced our collaboration with Deutsche Telekom in the field of smart glasses in February, please find the Press Release here. The goal of this collaboration is to explore and drive the application potential and future of data glasses, which will require our joint attention to several aspects, such as hardware, software, displays, applications user interfaces and connectivity.

      Best regards,
      Corporate Communications

  4. Roman

    Dear Mathias,
    I am interested in buying a zeiss smart glasses and I would like to know at what point is the sale of the glasses to the public. I would also like to know if you are going to exhibit the product at the next MWC 2018 Barcelona Mobile World Congress.
    Thanks for your attention,

  5. Noah Castle

    I'd like to know when they are coming to the market and how much they will be retail wise because I am interested


    Hi, I loved your design and engeneering. I'm very exited to have one of these. By the way, I have some diferent skills who maybe will be useful like beta tester. I practice montaneeiring, pilot helicopters, airplanes, also work with drones and at my free time I'm writing a book. A science fiction story based on facts of nowadays history. Well, probably you picture I will use your glasses 24/7. Count on me. I'm waiting a project like your since the concept appears and this is the first time I feel a company confident and decided to write.

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  8. Damien Smith

    Your tutorial is quite impressive and helpful for us. Very useful information!!!!! This blog is very informative and interesting. All the information are great. Your blog is very nice and good. Thanks for sharing this informative stuff.

    innovative eyewear


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