Visa Adds Mobile Payment System to Sunglasses in New Prototype

March 17, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Perhaps we all thought it was a little strange to see Pizza Hut convert a pair of shoes to be able to order pizza therein. As it turned out, it was a small part of a bit of a growing movement, as represented by a recent change from Visa.

Visa recently brought out a prototype system by which it installed a mobile payment system into an ordinary pair of sunglasses.

Based somewhat on Visa’s previous advances in the field—as demonstrated by its near-field communications (NFC) powered ring premiered at last year’s Olympics—the NFC-capable sunglasses can essentially make a payment in the way some entire smartphones and similar devices can.

Just remove the sunglasses when a payment is needed, tap said glasses against the payment terminal and boom; mobile payment made.

Though there’s no report on when—if ever—these will actually go live to the public, Visa has made perfectly clear that it can add a mobile payment mechanism to just about anything that works via a brief touch to an appropriate payment device. Indeed, some have suggested that this could be easily incorporated into standard prescription glasses.

The key takeaway, though, is that the last few days have demonstrated pretty conclusively that mobile payment systems can be added to almost anything. Such systems are in our cars, in our shoes, in our wristwatches and now sunglasses, and even potentially built right into our own thumbs.

Mobile payment systems can go everywhere we go and make it so that forgetting our wallet will never again be an impediment to shopping. It might actually make mugging a crime of the past because no thief will know just what bit of apparel we have on directly connects to our money.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, the end result remains the same. We have a rapidly-increasing chance of, at some point in the near future, owning a device we can wear like clothing but use in a fashion that’s almost completely unrelated to what clothes normally do.

Mobile payments are just part of the package, but based on how many different items of apparel they’ve been added to so far, a bigger part of the landscape than some may want to admit.