Smart Glasses will fundamentally change how we think and the ways we interact with the world, each other, and machines. From simple tools like navigation, notifications, notes, and a web browser, to new tools like conversational intelligence, contextual search engine, memory augmentation and sensory upgrades, smart glasses have immense potential to improve our lives.
The annual H20 Smart Glasses Visionary Awards celebrate the top pioneers in the smart glasses space. These are the leaders pushing forward the use cases, adoption, technology, and design of smart glasses. Whether a CEO or influencer, the visionaries featured here share the conviction that smart glasses will one day become a vital tool for humanity – and they’re working hard to make it happen.
This award is presented by the H20 Smart Glasses Community – a community of smart glasses users, developers, researchers, and companies dedicated to accelerating and positively shaping the future of smart glasses. We do so by connecting smart glasses users to smart glasses developers with a focus on creating use cases that make our lives better. We invite you to join our community, attend our meetups, and help us accelerate the consumer adoption of smart glasses to improve people’s lives.
Congratulations to all winners of the inaugural H20 Smart Glasses Visionary Awards!
Winners - H20 Smart Glasses Visionary Awards
1. Bernard Kress
President, SPIE and Director, Optical Engineering - AR Hardware at Google
Bernard Kress is the president of the SPIE, Director of Optical Engineering for AR Hardware at Google, and previously Microsoft Hololens architect. Kress heads the SPIE AR | VR | MR webinar series, which is followed widely by the smart glasses industry. Bernard holds a PhD in Photonics from Télécom Physique Strasbourg.
Kress has extensive influence on the industry and is believed to be a key player in Google’s next pair of smart glasses, suspected to be released in 2024 or 2025.
2. Paul Travers
CEO of Vuzix
Paul Travers is the founder and CEO of Vuzix. Vuzix is leading the industry in building smart glasses with advanced displays, compute, and sensors while maintaining a physically and socially comfortable form factor.
Paul’s focus at Vuzix is in the enterprise space, but they also serve as an OEM for consumer glasses, from raw components like waveguides and micro-projectors to full white-label smart glasses solutions.
Prior to the formation of Vuzix, Paul founded e-Tek Labs Inc. and Forte Technologies Inc.
3. Eric Marcellin-Dibon
CEO and Co-Founder of MICROOLED
Eric is the cofounder of MICROOLED, a company developing high-performance OLED microdisplays for near-to-eye applications. Power efficiency and brightness are two areas where they excel.
The company is bringing their display technology to life through the ENGO Eyewear product line, which focuses on fitness and sports smart glasses use cases.
4. Robert Scoble
Robert Scoble is a blogger, technical evangelist, and author. Robert is best known for his blog, Scobleizer.
Robert was an early adopter of Google Glass, and has studied AR, spatial computing, and smart glasses for decades, giving him expert insight into the field. He’s communicated these insights in books like “The Infinite Retina” and “Age of Context”. He’s also a Venture Partner at HOF Capital investing heavily in AR and smart glasses venture.
5. Alex Westner
CEO of Xander
Alex Westner is the founder and CEO of Xander. Xander is building smart glasses that provide communications enabling tools, like live captions for the deaf.
Before Xander, Alex received his MAS from the MIT Media Lab, where he worked on deep audio technology problems. Alex also worked in the audio industry for over twenty years, developing award-winning products that analyse and enhance speech and music.
Xander is dedicated to building real world tools, and have a number of live product demo videos showing smart glasses as a tool to help the deaf communicate.
6. Norman N.
Norman runs the AR_MR_XR subreddit, a newsfeed dedicated to smart glasses, AR, MR, and XR. His newsfeed is followed widely by the AR industry, and provides valuable news and content about AR technology, use cases, and people.
Norman maintains multiple invaluable resources about smart glasses, including a repository of every available pair of smart glasses on the market, and a list of predictions about consumer adoption of smart glasses.
7. Tom Fleay
Owner and Director of VUYU
Tom Fleay is the founder and directory of VUYU. VUYU specialises in deploying augmented reality and smart technology to improve and change the way businesses and industries solve every day problems.
Tom is also an explorer in the smart glasses space, who’s pushed the boundaries of smart glasses use cases for musical performance, fitness, livestreaming, and more.
8. Karl Guttag
KGOnTech Blogger, AR Tech Expert
Karl Guttag has run the blog KGOnTech since 2011, analysing consumer display devices of all kinds. Karl presents deep technical dives of these optical devices, utilising his 40 years of electronics industry experience in display devices, headset displays, projector displays, graphics accelerators, and video game devices. Karl is widely considered an expert voice in the AR technology industry.
9. Jason McDowall
Creator & Host of The AR Show
Jason is the creator and host of the AR Show, a podcast about smart glasses. The AR Show dives deep into the emerging world of Augmented Reality with a focus on the underlying technologies and uses of smart glasses, and the people behind them.
Jason studied at Carnegie Mellon University and went on to co-found three companies (mobile, enterprise SaaS) and worked as the director/VP/Head of Product at others, including Salesforce.com. Currently he is the VP Product at Ostendo, a deep-tech startup in the smart glasses space.
10. Evan Spiegel
CEO of Snap
Evan Spiegel is the co-founder and CEO of Snap Inc. The Snap “New Spectacles” are wearable AR glasses that allow creators to experience AR in a futurist form factor. Snap also builds the “Spectacles 3”, a pair of camera-glasses in an all day form factor.
Outside of glasses, Snap is a major player in AR, with more than 250 million users experiencing AR everyday through their smartphone application, SnapChat.
11. Dan Scarfe
CEO of XRAI.Glass
Dan Scarfe is the co-founder and CEO of XRAI.Glass. XRAI is building apps that provide subtitles for the deaf on smart glasses. Alongside tools for the deaf, XRAI is building an intelligent assistant powered by large language models that can do things like summarise your conversation, alongside tools for live language translation in conversations.
Dan is a serial entrepreneur who has started and exited multiple organisations in the past. He’s paid that back by being an early investor and advisor in a number of startups in the finance, web3, and software space.
12. Ori Inbar
Founder of Super Ventures and AWE XR
Ori is the co-founder and CEO of AWE, which is the leading event series for the XR industry. The AWE main event held each year is the world’s largest augmented reality and smart glasses expo.
Alongside AWE, Ori is founder of Super Ventures, the first early-stage fund dedicated to Augmented Reality (AR). Super Ventures invests in startups developing AR, VR, and wearable technology.
Ori is widely considered a leading voice in the AR space.
13. Antti Sunnari
Founder of Dispelix
Antti Sunnari is CEO and co-founder of Dispelix, a designer and fabless manufacturer of mass manufacturable diffractive waveguides and display modules for use in AR and MR eyewear and headsets.
Under Antti’s leadership, Dispelix is largely recognised as one of the leading developers of waveguides for consumer adoption due to their excellent transmissivity and low eye glow.
14. Edward Tang
Co-Founder and CEO of Avegant
Edward Tang oversees the strategic direction of Avegant – building the worlds smallest light engines for AR. Prior to Avegant, Edward was the founder and CEO of Tang Engineering Consulting, a design firm for the MEMS community, focused on biomedical implantable devices and surgical robotics. Edward was a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan and received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan.
15. Yi Xu
Director of XR Technology at OPPO
Yi directs XR tech at Oppo. Oppo has released multiple smart glasses device to the consumer market, with their Air Glass 2 device coming in 2023.
At Oppo, Yi oversees “OPPO’s R&D effort in XR, including strategy, product, technology development, and advanced research.”
Yi began his career in academia, with research experience in AR/MR/VR, 3D imaging, structured light, computational cameras, robotic vision for bin-picking, etc.
Yi holds a PhD in computer science from Purdue University.
16. Tom Emrich
AR Thought Leader, Director of Product at Niantic
Tom is a thought leader in the AR and smart glasses space, with a long track record of success bringing AR to market and unifying communities of people in this space.
Tom’s “AR Roundup” newsletter is followed by many in the industry. He’s also a leader at 8th Wall (now part of Niantic) building the industry leading WebAR framework. Tom’s passion for wearables and AR has made him an early adopter of multiple smart glasses projects, including Google Glass.
17. Chi Xu
Founder and CEO of Nreal
Chi Xu is the founder and CEO of Nreal. Nreal is building AR and MR smart glasses for consumers. The Nreal Light and Nreal Air glasses are two of the most successful smart glasses of all time, with Nreal surpassing 100,000 AR glasses devices sold.
Chi acquired PhD in electrical engineering from University of Minnesota. Chi worked as a Software Engineer at Magic Leap before leaving to start Nreal.
18. Ari Grobman
CEO of Lumus
Ari Grobman is the CEO of Lumus. Lumus is developing the industry leading waveguide for light weight AR smart glasses.
In his previous role at Lumus as VP Business Development, Ari introduced Lumus to leading tech companies around the world, with the goal of “opening the eyes of market leaders to the benefits enabled by see-through wearable displays, getting them to buy in to the long term vision of how AR eyewear will change the world”.
Lumus is positioned to be the waveguide solution used in a number of smart glasses devices coming to market in the next few years.
19. Kai Ströder
CEO of tooz
Kai Ströder is the co-founder and CEO of tooz, a company developing small-size, low-cost smart glasses for consumers. Kai began his career with a PhD in strategic management followed by a decade at Carl Zeiss, the world’s leading high end optics company. At Zeiss, Kai was involved with augmented reality and data glasses.
In 2018, he transferred the Carl Zeiss smart optics group to the joint venture tooz technologies initiated with Deutsche Telekom. tooz develops technologies and production processes for complete smart glasses solutions geared towards the end consumer market.
20. Mark Zuckerberg
CEO of Meta
Mark Zuckerberg is the founder and CEO of Meta. Meta dedicates a massive amount of their budget to AR and VR, as Zuckerberg believes that the future of social interaction will powered by these technologies.
In 2021, Meta (with EssilorLuxottica) released the RayBan Stories camera sunglasses. The device also features speakers and microphones for voice command and media consumption.
Meta is working on a number of smart glasses projects, including Project Aria and Project Nazare. Speculation abounds, but reports say that Reality Labs will release developer smart glasses in 2024, followed by consumer glasses in 2026.
Congratulations to all winners of the inaugural H20 Smart Glasses Visionary Awards!
We’ve considered product adoption, reach, technical innovation, community involvement, thought leadership, and more to bring you this H20 Smart Glasses Visionary Awards. We’re aware there are others we’ve missed who are pushing forward this space, and many more who we aren’t aware of. This is only a glimpse of the massive collective effort happening to make smart glasses a reality.
These awards are presented by the H20 Smart Glasses Community. The lead editors are:
- Rayan Saleh (Community Director at H20 Smart Glasses Community, CEO of Arda)
- Cayden Pierce, (Executive Director at H20 Smart Glasses Community, CEO at Emex Labs, Lead at TeamOpenSmartGlasses)
Badge design by Rayan Saleh and Aaditya Vaze.