recommended reading

Visa Wants to Let You Pay for Stuff With Your Sunglasses

Flickr user Ramesh ram

Your humble sunglasses are about to get yet another upgrade.

Visa unveiled a prototype for payment-enabled sunglasses this week, which look almost exactly like regular sunglasses, but are enabled with a small NFC chip that lets you pay by tapping the glasses on a contactless terminal. (These are the same chips in smartphones used by Apple Pay and its competitors as well as in contactless cards in Europe and elsewhere.)

The glasses, which are meant to work as a preloaded payment card, are still in the prototype stage and the company has not said when they will be released or how much they will cost.

The new glasses were simultaneously debuted at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, and a surf competition in Australia—clearly marketing them as the ultimate accessory for the beach bum who can’t be bothered to carry a wallet.

Visa’s newest product comes amid an attempted revival in so-called smart glasses.

Spectacles, which let wearers record videos and upload them to Snapchat for a price tag of $130, were launched in November initially sold in vending machines and are now available online in the U.S. The company opened a new pop-up shop in Los Angeles—but enthusiasm for the camera-enabled glasses might already be wearing off. Millennials, Snap’s biggest customers, think they are weird.

Google Glass was unveiled in 2012 with much fanfare and eagerly tested by celebrities and geeks alike, only to retreat under insults labeling users privacy. Patents filed by Google since show the company is attempting to make the computer you wear on your nose more symmetrical and snug.

But even with all the futuristic possibilities of augmented reality and corrective lenses that adjust on the go, smart glasses have a long way to go.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.