How-To: Prescription Google Glass

Magnetically attach Glass to your frames for 20 dollars and 15 minutes 

So far my biggest complaint about Google Glass has been the fact that I need to wear contacts to use it. I hate wearing contacts. I saw this blog post about using magnets and sugru to fix this problem, so I thought I’d give it a try.

The post doesn’t go into much details about exactly how to do this, so I am writing this post to explain my own experience. If you follow these steps you will have a fully reversible hardware hack that allows you to wear your glass as a magnet attachment to your existing glasses.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Google Glass
  • A pair of glasses with reasonably wide plastic frames.
  • Sugru (available from http://sugru.com/, the cheap 3-pack should be more than enough)
  • Some magnets. I used these super-strong small ones. They’re cheap.
  • A T5 screwdriver head to remove the Glass from its default mount.

Ready to get started?


Disclaimer: I’m just some random guy on the internet. Whatever you do, don’t do this. It would be silly and irresponsible of you to risk breaking your exclusive and expensive device. I make no promises that this will even work. Seriously, stop. Are you nuts?

That said, this worked for me and I’m glad I did it. I’m posting this in case anyone is curious. But for god’s sake don’t blame me if something goes wrong.


Step 1: Detach Glass from Frame

First, find the single screw that’s used to hold the Glass device to the frame. It’s near the camera button. You’ll need a special T5 screwdriver head to remove it — don’t try to force it with some other tool, you’ll just mess up the screw and make it impossible to revert this hack.

Loosen the screw as much as you can, eventually you should feel it detach. At that point you can just carefully pry the Glass frame away from its mount.


Sugru and Magnets on my glasses frame

Step 2: Attach Magnets to your Glasses

So, if you have thin wire frames then this probably won’t work for you. You have to use the sugru to mount two magnets on the right leg of your glasses. The first one should be fairly far forward, the next one somewhere before your ear.

Before you actually attach anything, line up your Glass with your frames to space this out. I was able to determine optimal magnet placement pretty easily just by holding the glass in place and picking two spots on the frame as I did so.

Use the sugru to attach the magnets — I probably went overboard and used a bit too much, but this was my first use of the substance and I didn’t really know what to expect. I think just a bit will be more than sufficient.

Then you have to just let this dry. I was able to wear my glasses all day while the magnets dried, but don’t start connecting other magnets to these until they’re dry. Give it 24 hours.


Magnets on the Glass device itself. The smudges are just sugru and will clean up with water and a Q-Tip.

Step 3: Attach Magnets to Google Glass

Now comes the scary part. The first thing you have to do is space this whole thing out. There’s a nice big flat plastic surface on the glass on the inside, basically the reverse of the touch sensor. We’re just going to attach two magnets here that correspond with the two you attached to your glasses.

So, the thing is you will probably have to make a few attempts. Not only do the magnets on the glass have to line up perfectly with the magnets on your frames, but they also have to be vertically positioned in a way that’ll let your Glass fit correctly into your field of vision. This may take a little bit of trial and error, and since the sugru takes 24 hours to dry this means that this part may take a few days to get right.

Also: make absolutely certain that the magnets are facing the right way. You don’t want to accidentally reverse polarity and have a pair of glasses imbued with the magical ability to repel a google glass, right?

So, attach your magnets, then wait 24 hours, then try it on. When it doesn’t look quite right, take a moment to sigh wearily, then figure out what adjustments you have to make, then scrape the sugru off and try again with a slightly new position. Repeat this process several times until you’re finally satisfied with the result.


Conclusions

So, this worked for me and it makes Glass usable for me on a day to day basis. I did notice that this seems to keep the glass slightly closer to my head than normal — as a result, the prism hinge is not useful for positioning the screen. Basically I have to move it all the way in one direction and even then the screen is constantly threatening to leave my field of view. The magnet position I finally settled on is mostly fine, but it’s not quite as well positioned using my cheap plastic frames as it is using the custom titanium mount. Go figure.

One potential improvement on this approach would involve creating a custom mount to replace the one it shipped with. Rather than affixing magnets directly to the glass, you would screw in the custom mount and then affix magnets to that. This would give you some space between the device and your head, which would help with the positioning problems, and it has the nice side effect of not requiring you to attach magnets to your piece of expensive electronics.

I do enjoy this magnet solution more than a few other approaches I’ve found because it becomes trivially easy for me attach/detach the glass from my glasses at any time.

Has anyone else done anything like this? I’m curious for other thoughts and other perspectives.

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