Once Venice was the capital of global glass-making. Now, wearable computing pioneer and GlassUp CEO Francesco Giartosio is hoping that lightning will strike twice.
Two years ago Giartosio started an augmented reality project called GlassUp in Venice with a scientist who built heads-up displays for the Italian air force and an engineer who managed smartwatch projects. Together, they wanted to create a revolution in wearable technology: an always-visible smart display that doesn’t make you look like an cyborg.
Then they heard Google was doing the same thing.
“It was quite a shock,” Giartosio told me via video Skype from Venice, where the company is headquartered. “We considered that they would kill us, so we thought deeply about it, then decided to carry on for a few reasons.”
Those reasons include cost, fashion, and, most importantly, function.
GlassUp is a second-screen output for Internet-connected devices, the company says. It will show you SMS messages, emails, notifications, or anything a GlassUp-optimized app wants to display. It doesn’t contain a huge amount of electronics, or a heavy-duty CPU, and — as privacy advocates will be pleased to hear — doesn’t have a camera.
As a result, it has a few advantages over its more famous relation.