The secret Google X Labs research on augmented reality glasses has finally been made public under the name Project Glass. Posted on Google+, the short introduction to the project is followed by photos and a concept video.
The minimalistic design is slightly different from the rumoured Oakley’s Thumps-like design, featuring a hidden microphone and a small semi-transparent screen that displays digital information in front of the right eye. Although the design will most likely change until the glasses become commercially available, the simplistic approach might prove to be more appealing to everybody.
When looking through the glasses, the wearer starts with a series of 14 icons which seem to include among others: a voice control app, a calendar, a weather app, a music player and a camera/ video recorder. The ‘iconesque’ user interface reminds us of Android, which is believed to power the gadget, allowing similar features to other mobile devices.
Unfortunately no many specs have been released to the public. However, based on the concept video, we can assume that the Google augmented reality glasses will feature a 3G/4G connection to enable weather updates, web search, social media sharing (Google+ is one of the apps available in the opening image) and news updates (such as the “Subway service suspended”). GPS, voice recognition and motion sensors are other technologies that are expected to be included in the glasses.
Google does not mention anything about how the glasses will be powered or if they are going to include a mini-SIM card transforming them in the ultimate gadget. Based on a February post by the NY Times blog, the AR glasses are anticipated to have enough battery power to last for an entire day cycle.
So why does Google share all of these with us before the technology is ready for deployment? According to the three Google employees who posted the information on Google+ “we’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input”. A bold and smart move from Google, the crowdsourcing approach will surely speed up things and provide a valuable input towards the commercial release of the glasses. This is even more important with the increasing pressure from the likes of Microsoft, Sony and Apple who all applied for different AR head-up displays patents in recent years. Gaining the first-mover advantage might prove essential for the long-term success of Project Glass.