On Wednesday, Google gave people a clearer picture of its secret initiative called Project Glass. The glasses are the company’s first venture into wearable computing.
The glasses are not yet for sale. Google will, however, be testing them in public.
In a post shared on Google Plus,
employees in the company laboratory known as Google X, including Babak
Parviz, Steve Lee and Sebastian Thrun, asked people for input about the
prototype of Project Glass. Mr. Lee, a Google product manager and
originally worked on Google mapping software Latitude, mobile maps and
indoor maps, is responsible for the software component and the
location-based aspects of the glasses.“We’re sharing this
information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from
your valuable input,” the three employees wrote. “Please follow along as
we share some of our ideas and stories. We’d love to hear yours, too.
What would you like to see from Project Glass?”
prototype version Google showed off on Wednesday looked like a very
polished and well-designed pair of wrap-around glasses with a clear
display that sits above the eye. The glasses can stream information to
the lenses and allow the wearer to send and receive messages through
voice commands. There is also a built-in camera to record video and take
pictures.The New York Times first wrote about the glasses in late February, describing an augmented-reality display that would sit over the eye and run on the Android mobile platform.
released by Google on Wednesday, which can be seen below, showed
potential uses for Project Glass. A man wanders around the streets of
New York City, communicating with friends, seeing maps and information,
and snapping pictures. It concludes with him video-chatting with a
girlfriend as the sun sets over the city. All of this is seen through
the augmented-reality glasses.University of WashingtonBabak Parviz, who is working on Project Glass, developed contact lenses with pixels embedded in the display.Project
Glass could hypothetically become Project Contact Lens. Mr. Parviz, who
is also an associate professor at the University of Washington, specializes in bionanotechnology, which is the fusion of tiny technologies and biology. He most recently built a tiny contact lens that has embedded electronics and can display pixels to a person’s eye.
Early reports of the glasses said prototypes could look like a pair of Oakley Thumps
— which are clunky and obtrusive sunglasses — but the version Google
unveiled Wednesday looks more graceful. There are reportedly dozens of
other shapes and variations of the glasses in the works, some of which
can sit over a person’s normal eyeglasses.
People I have spoken
with who have have seen Project Glass said there is a misconception that
the glasses will interfere with people’s daily life too much,
constantly streaming information to them and distracting from the real
world. But these people said the glasses actually free people up from
One person who had used the glasses said: “They let
technology get out of your way. If I want to take a picture I don’t have
to reach into my pocket and take out my phone; I just press a button at
the top of the glasses and that’s it.”
Project Glass is one of many projects currently being built inside the Google X
offices, a secretive laboratory near Google’s main Mountain View,
Calif., campus where engineers and scientists are also working on robots
and space elevators.
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