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Generative AI could be smart glasses’ killer app and Hong Kong-founded Brilliant Labs is betting big on the trend

Singapore-based smart lenses start-up Brilliant Labs has become the latest company to introduce a pair of smart glasses, as a slew of tech companies, including several in China, try to make wearing glasses “cool”.

The company’s new Frame smart glasses, announced on Friday, are imbued with a custom artificial intelligence (AI)-powered assistant called Noa, which corrals many large language models (LLMs) to find one that is the best fit for a given query. By putting this tech into slim frames that can be worn all day, Brilliant Labs, founded in Hong Kong in 2019, is jumping on the smart eyewear trend that has also drawn in several Chinese companies looking to capitalise on a market expected to boom this year thanks to the entry of Apple with its much larger Vision Pro mixed reality headset.

“We feel that it is analogous to multitouch for the smartphone. Until that technology and interface modality was invented, smartphones were really not a thing,” Tavangar said in an interview with the Post.

Past efforts to make AR glasses fun by putting “whales in front of your eyes and a T-Rex dancing on the table” have not panned out, he added. “It’s always lacked that existential purpose … which we believe is generative AI,” the CEO said.

Brilliant Labs opened the Frame glasses for pre-order on Friday at US$349 a piece. The device starts shipping in April.

The company has made Noa Frame’s primary value proposition. When users ask for an image to be generated in front of their eyes, Noa might turn to Stable Diffusion, for example. More general requests for information might draw from OpenAI’s GPT models, Tavangar explained.

Tavangar has a unique vision for his company, which he started with co-founders Raj Nakarja and Benjamin Heald to