On Wednedsay, Google unveiled a long-rumoured concept about a secret initiative called Project Glass, which takes all the functionality of a smartphone and places it into a wearable device that resembles eyeglasses. These augmented reality glasses are the company’s first venture into wearable computing and are currently being tested out by a number of Google employees in public.
The 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 and record a video and take pictures from the built-in camera.
The precise look and feel of the hardware and software is still in the early design phase, but Google produced a concept design that looks like something out of a futuristic sci-fi movie.
In a post that was shared on Google+, employees including Steve Lee, Babak Parviz and Sebastian Thrun that work in the company’s laboratory known as Google X, asked people for input about the prototype of Project Glass.
The Project Glass Google+ page reads: “A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment. We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input. 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?”
Lee, a Google product manager who originally worked on the Google mapping software Latitude, is responsible for the software component and the location-based aspects of the glasses. His colleague, Parviz, who is also an associate professor at the University of Washington, specializes in bionanotechnology and recently built a tiny contact lens that has embedded electronics and can display pixels to a person’s eye. These tiny contact lenses could, one day, offer people an alternative to wearing the glasses.
Google also released a video with the post, to show the potential uses for Project Glass including video chatting, map viewing and providing directions.
Early reports of the glasses, said that they were most likely to look like a pair of Oakley Thumps but thankfully the version that Google revealed is far more sleek and unobtrusive. At the end of the day, while the glasses are an incredible device to utilise, most people will want to look good while wearing them on a day-to-day basis.
One person who 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.” So, rather than the glasses potentially interfering with one’s daily life, they actually free people from the many technological devices used every day.
Google has not yet releases any details about when the glasses will be available commercially.
Project Glass is just one of many projects currently being built inside the Google X offices, a secretive laboratory near Google’s main Mountain View, California campus where engineers and scientists are also reportedly working on robots and space elevators.
Watch the Project Glass video below: