Augmented Reality Glasses: An Overview of Potential Drivers and Barriers

I am working on several projects related to Augmented Reality Smart Glasses. In various studies (qualitative consumer interviews, content analyses of social media platforms, expert interviews, quantitative surveys etc.) we have identified many factors that drive, and hinder, consumers’ adoption of smart glasses. As I am often asked what these factors are (or could be), I created a brief overview here. Important to note, this list provides just a selection of factors, and not all of them have yet been empirically validated. Furthermore, these factors are limited on the personal context. Factors that are likely to influence decisions to implement smart glasses in companies can be found here.


Some Barriers to the Adoption of AR Glasses:

  • Privacy and the Privacy Paradox
    There are two privacy factors that consumers frequently mention when thinking and talking about smart glasses: The loss of a user’s privacy, and the loss of public privacy. Recent research could not validate that the fear of losing one’s privacy influences adoption intention (which I termed the ‘privacy paradox‘), however, we do not yet know how public privacy concerns influence adoption intention.
  • Distraction and Information Overload
    Users are afraid that providing too many information in one’s view-field leads to distraction. A common concern is the use of smart glasses while driving a car. Likewise, while having access to information is something consumers generally value, too many information can lead to information overload.
  • Comfort
    Common concerns are that smart glasses are too large, too heavy, too bulky, or become too warm. In short, having smart glasses on one’s head or in one’s face is expected to feel uncomfortable.
  • Practical Issues
    Many users expect a lack of applications and quality issues (such as that smart glasses can break easily), legal restrictions (e.g. prohibited use in particular areas) etc.
  • Health Issues
    Many consumers are afraid that using smart glasses could negatively influence their health – for example, triggering cancer (electrosmog), hurting a user’s eyes, lead to headaches, or lead to psychological stress (becoming unsocial etc). To the best of my knowledge, no research exists that supports this fear!
  • Loss of competence
    Common raised concerns of consumers were the fear of losing one’s competence – that is, because smart glasses help managing a user’s life, the user won’t be able to make profound decisions without technology anymore. The same concerns are risen for social competence.


Some Drivers to the Adoption of AR Glasses:

  • Usefulness
    If smart glasses are perceived as a tool that makes a user’s life more efficient (e.g. multi-tasking, navigation systems, organizer), they are more likely to be interested in being an early adopter of smart glasses.
  • Ease of use
    As with most technology, the user-friendliness of a technology is a core determinant. People who think that using smart glasses are not easy to use or who think they do not have the ability to use them (which are still a lot of people), are less likely to buy smart glasses.
  • Socializing
    Smart glasses can offer new forms of socializing. However, new apps are needed to satisfy these needs.
  • Entertainment
    Microsoft has shown many examples how their HoloLens can be used for Entertainment purposes.
  • Lifestyle and Design
    Presenting the latest devices to others is a core motivation for at least some consumers to adopt new technologies. I use the term Fashnology to highlight that smart glasses are both a fashion and a technology. Design matters!
  • Knowledge & Learning
    Smart glasses offer many opportunities to learn new things. For example, AR applications for smartphones can be used to learn about famous buildings. The same could be true for smart glasses.


Interested in doing research on smart AR glasses, such as HoloLens, ODG or Elbit Everysight? Then consider submitting a paper to our special issue on new technologies!


Related Links on Smart Glasses Research:


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