Clifford M. Gross, Ph.D., is a business and ergonomics expert. He is also chief operating officer for Lucyd, the emerging tech startup developing smartglasses - a wearable product at the nexus of augmented reality ( AR ) and blockchain technology. Gross has taken three companies public within different markets in the U.S. and the U.K. He also has deep experience in creating ergonomic, user-friendly consumer electronics.
Lucyd aims to deliver the world's first blockchain-driven smartglasses. Since 75 percent of the world population needs corrective lenses to some degree, Lucyd is targeting any member of that 75 percent who seeks a new and more accessible way to access information. This means that the market is, potentially, anyone with glasses and a smartphone who is interested in fusing the two.
BTC Studios sat down with Gross for t o get more insight into Lucyd's efforts in creating cutting-edge eyewear.
BTC Studios: Can you tell me how Lucyd expects to stack up against other companies already within the AR eyewear space?
Gross: Even though Lucyd is only a few months old, we have a very strong technology heritage, with patents that we developed through years of funded research and development. Despite our relative infancy, we believe that our technology is more advanced than what's out there at present in the market.
BTC Studios: Can you tell me more about Lucyd's patent portfolio?
Gross: We have a portfolio of 13 AR patents developed at the optics lab at the University of Central Florida, one of the leading optics research institutions in the country. We licensed this patent through the University of Central Florida and actually got the lead inventor of those patents, Dr. Jannick Rolland, Ph.D., a world-class optics expert, to carry over her AR and research and development work with us.
BTC Studios: Can you speak more as to how Lucyd can compete within the prevailing smartglasses marketplace?
Gross: None of the currently available products are really all that attractive or have high usability. We believe our technology can result in a critical mass point for AR. The smartglasses we are trying to build should be beta-ready in about a year. We are aiming at making a lightweight, global peripheral that makes it easier to access the information one would normally tap into through their phone.
BTC Studios: Are you trying to build a new platform for AR?
Gross: We're not trying to build a completely new platform. Rather, we're trying to use the normal Android ecosystems available in augmented reality while adding some new content of our own by way of a decentralized marketplace.
BTC Studios: What is Lucyd's operational focus going to market?
Gross: At present, we're really focused on the optical hardware piece, because if you don't get that part right, the whole thing will fall apart. For us, it's about getting our phone user experience to a point where we can deliver a comfortable heads-up display through the glasses. Then, as time goes on, we're going to be able to add more features so that the glasses will become more sensitive to the world around the user, providing a more relevant information field based on that experience.
BTC Studios: Can you tell me how Lucyd's marketplace will use blockchain technology?
Gross: We're creating a new app store that's powered by blockchain that can grow and scale much faster than the traditional app store. Blockchain is what kind of enabled that. Essentially, we can pass over all of the moderation of content. So, there's really no faster and efficient way to build this content marketplace than [through] blockchain.
We've discovered that the blockchain is the most-efficient way to build a community-run marketplace, which is what we are trying to do for the content of our glasses. Because it's such a powerful and personalized technology, we really want to turn over as much control to the users as possible.
There is also a hardware link between AR and blockchain with the project that may allow us to implement an actual hardware wallet into the glasses so that a user can store all of their cryptocurrencies on their glasses. Moreover, they'll be able to unlock their crypto with voice-pattern recognition and other biometric security features.
BTC Studios: How secure will Lucyd smartglasses be?
Gross: There are actually quite a few security layers available in AR smartglasses that aren't available in other devices. So, I think that voice-pattern recognition is among the features that could be integrated, so a user could enable that as two-factor authentication.
From a normal PIN number to your voice to your hands, there are so many different ways to unlock glasses. In addition, users will be able to stack all of these different layers together for really high-level security.
Eventually, in the same way that you use your phone with Apple Pay, you will be able to use "Lucyd Pay" to pay with your glasses, perhaps by forming an ocular link within the point of sale. So, the user will have the ability to look at the card reader and bring up the transaction in AR before confirming it with a voice or a tap.
BTC Studios: Okay, can you give me Lucyd's overall value proposition?
Gross: We think that Lucyd is going to be valuable for a lot of people - especially law enforcement and government - people who have access to technology but need to use it in a discreet fashion. Having something that is literally indistinguishable from glasses, yet helps one access data freely, could be extremely powerful.