Google unveils Project Glass augmented reality eyewear

 
Project Glass concept picture The eyewear appears to have a streamlined design despite all the functionality it is suggested to include

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Google has revealed details of its research into augmented reality glasses.

It posted a brief introduction to Project Glass, photos and a concept video at its Google+ social network.

The images show a minimalist design with a microphone and partly-transparent video screen that places information over the view from the users' right eye.

The product's developers said they wanted feedback on the idea.

They did not give any indication about when the device might go on sale or what it would cost.

"A group of us... started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment," said a statement from Google X - the firm's experimental lab.

"We're sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input."

Guided walks

The video suggests icons offering 14 different services will be offered to the user when the glasses are first put on, including information about the weather, their location and diary appointments.

It appears that several of these services are either triggered by an action taken by the user or the situation they are in.

The film shows one user being reminded he has a date that evening when he looks up at a blank wall, and then warns him that there is a 10% chance it will rain when he looks out of the window.

Google glasses warn the subway service is suspended The video suggests that the device would involve a GPS chip to help deliver location specific alerts

An alert pops up when a friend sends a text asking if he wants to meet up later in the day. When the user dictates a reply a microphone symbol is superimposed over much of his view.

Other functions include Google Maps showing a route to the wearer's destination with small arrows keeping him on track, the ability to take a photo of what he is looking at with an option to share it with friends, and a video conference service.

The glasses are also shown to allow music and other audio to be heard, although they do not appear to include earphones.

Shrink to fit

There had been lots of speculation about the project with some reports describing it as an "open secret", but this is the first time Google has confirmed details of what it was working on.

The New York Times had previously suggested that the first set of glasses would go on sale before the end of the year for somewhere between $250-$600 (£157-£378) - but experts say that the technology shown in the video may still be some way off being ready for market.

Chris Green, principal technology analyst at Davies Murphy Group Europe, told the BBC that other tech firms such as Brother had attempted to pioneer the concept - but became unstuck because their versions had required users to carry separate processing and battery equipment that plugged into their glasses.

"There are huge opportunities for tailored advertising with augmented reality systems - especially if they have in-built GPS location tracking," he said.

"The monetisation opportunities would be enormous - but there are still big issues involved with shrinking the technology and making the computer that receives and processes the data truly portable."

Google glasses shows map of shop Google suggests the glasses could help users find where products are located in shops
Rival eyewear

Google may have competition if it works out how to shrink the electronics involved.

In 2008, Apple patented a laser-based "head mounted display system" that it suggested could stream video from its iPod among other features.

More recently, Patent Bolt revealed that Sony and Microsoft have patented ideas to create miniature displays to go over users' eyes.

They were described as being suitable for "gaming and beyond".

Google has previously revealed details of futuristic concepts years before they are ready for market.

The firm announced in 2010 that it had tested a self-driving car on the streets of California - but has not said when it might start selling such vehicles.

 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 278.

    I love technology, but can see the dangers of these glasses in relation to car drivers. There are already too many ways for a driver to be distracted & this will just add to problems on the roads.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 277.

    I can only see out of my left eye. Will Google make one for us 'lefties' or do you need sight in both eyes for it to work? It's already bad enough being excluded from the 3D market, unable to attend 3D viewings at a cinema because of sight in only 1 eye.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 276.

    All technology seems to do is make people slaves to it. Hooked on the feeling of being at the centre of your own techno-world, whilst being increasingly isolated from the real one. And how will anyone walk properly with their eyes focussed on the screen in front of them? Useless, pointless rubbish intended only to make a fortune from those daft enough to buy it.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 275.

    This could lead to social manipulation on a very large scale. Information is good and useful if it is what the user wants and has selected themselves. This is called using your own intelligence. Being spoonfed by a device such as this could end in tears. Whatever will they want us to do next?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 274.

    It's easy to be technophobic/crazy; extreme views are simple to justify. What about us in the middle who just want to get on with our lives? I'm not phobic, but this messes with your eyes and hence I approach this as an agnostic. If you want to persuade me, you have to offer me something unique I can get in no other way. I don't see that here; only a different package for the same old same old.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 273.

    It has every potential to be an amazing product and I'd probably be one of the first people to purchase this (if I can afford it of course!) but I can only think this tells us that we are one step closer to being in the Wall-E world. Next, we won't rely on billboards.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 272.

    Unlike the windows 8 Metro interface this is something that I might buy and expect to become universal in the future.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 271.

    259. bigchill01

    One step closer to mind control! At best you will look a plank (like blue tooth headsets) at worst Schizophrenic (like users of hands free).

    >>>>>>>>>>

    I wonder what caused the paranoia then?
    Maybe illegal herb smoking???

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 270.

    "20. Drunken Hobo
    4TH APRIL 2012 - 21:49

    Only problem I could see is if somebody tries to drive with them on, whilst it'd be good to have augmented reality sat-nav, I'm not sure I want somebody doing 70 whilst checking their Facebook."

    It's ok you'll be driving your google car. Well, google will be driving it for you.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 269.

    I have been blind in my right eye since the age of six. 3D TV!! Project Glass!! Damn! I demand a virtual blue badge.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 268.

    I see we have the inevitable luddite reaction here - angrily fearful of change and lacking the vision to see the benefits of progress. It was the same with all the other technologies. Many people regarded mobile phones as a worthless affectation when they first appeared - but we all have one now. We would still be living in caves if we listened to the technophobes.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 267.

    Can people with Epilepsy wear them? Because I don't like the sound of some of the effects of them and also bear in mind that about 75 per cent of people walking around have Epilepsy & don't know it yet, hope they have good insurance to pay the lawsuits that may come up.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 266.

    I already had this idea back in 2009! They ripped me off! Google, you will feel my wrath!

    Watch from 4:20 for indisputable proof! ;-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGxV9r57Y00

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 265.

    I'd love for someone to apply the same technology to driving glasses.
    Military pilots have had the benefit of Heads Up Display (HUD) for years now, so it's proven technology.
    Better still; include a system to electronically filter out headlight glare. I'm sure that would save a few cyclists lives each year!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 264.

    Oh Hey Ho. When does Emmerdale start ?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 263.

    Two things to consider regarding 'it will remind you that you have a date tonight'.
    a) if you need reminding; he/she is not that important to you
    b) Don't, whatever you do, wear it on the date. Not if you want a second one.....

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 262.

    "including information about the weather, their location ..." - isn't that what your eyes are for? we have brains, why can't we use them without unnecessary technology being foisted on us? i know that I am a 'late adopter' when it comes to new technology - but surely tech should be a tool to help, rather than the next must-have gadget driven by the IT giants?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 261.

    Brilliant! super 'beer goggles' ! ! Now we can all be married to Angelina Jollie!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 260.

    #223 - "And if you think we'll be cyborgs within your life time - YOU ARE CLEARLY FOOLISH."

    Too late we already are: just look at the prosthetic limbs, pacemakers, hip replacements, or even the bionic eye http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7919645.stm.

    But I also share many of the concerns about new tech misuse, particularly by Big Brother Govt who will be one of the first to trial this.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 259.

    One step closer to mind control! At best you will look a plank (like blue tooth headsets) at worst Schizophrenic (like users of hands free).

 

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