Google's Project Glass Envisions Augmented Reality Eyewear

 
 
By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2012-04-04 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Google's Project Glass team sees a future where information is always in your face, but will consumers share the vision?

Following months of speculation, Google gave the world a sneak peek at its Project Glass plans, glasses which present visual information in front of your eyes, such as the temperature outside, time, and even messages from friends. A two-and-a-half minute promotional video the Project Glass team posted on YouTube, which takes viewers on a tour of a user€™s daily routine as he makes breakfast, video chats with his girlfriend and travels around New York City, gives an impression of what the technology is capable of.

€œWe think technology should work for you€”to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don€™t,€ Google employees Babak Parviz, Steve Lee, and Sebastian Thrun wrote on the Google+ Project Glass page. €œA 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.€

Photos on the project's Google Plus page also show what the final creation€”a sleek, white, paper-thin geek chic frame--could look like. The post also asks interested parties to follow along as they share some of their ideas and stories behind the development of the technology. €œWe€™d love to hear yours, too,€ the post implores. €œWhat would you like to see from Project Glass?€ But perhaps the question Google should be asking is, €œDo you want to see anything from Project Glass?"

Let€™s rewind: The idea is not exactly new. Putting aside countless science fiction creations, just five years ago California design and engineering firm Karten Design unveiled the Assisted Living Contact Lens, part of their "Cautionary Visions" concept project showcasing futuristic technology ideas gone awry. The lenses functioned as a €œfull-time, inescapable, never-leave-your-side personal assistant€ that included features like a GPS map overlay, diet filters and other €œhelpful€ reminders. Another concept from the project, the wearable Personal Viewing System (PVS), took things a step further with a design akin to wearing an iPad strapped around your neck.

Karten design principal Stuart Karten says although the technology for these types of technologies has now arrived, he isn€™t at all sure people would adopt them. €œFrom my perspective, I don€™t think that fits into people€™s ceremonies. It€™s like the whole idea of people talking to themselves [on Bluetooth]. I don€™t think it fits into how people interact with each other,€ he says, pointing out consumers are already distracted enough with iPhones and BlackBerry devices constantly in hand.  €œYou€™ve got muggings, people getting into accidents, it€™s horrible. It€™s not a matter of how much money it costs or how small it can be€”is it what people actually want and do they actually need it?

Despite his reservations about the use of technology or Google€™s ability to push it on the public€”he doesn€™t think 3D technology is going to take off, either€”he admits concepts like Project Glass function as a perfect €œshow car€ for Google. €œIt allows them to aggregate multiple parts of their ecosystem€”Android phones, Google Maps, their social networking site, Google Plus,€ he says. €œIt€™s a way for them to say, €˜This is how we can aggregate all the places that touch your life. And they have the content to feed to it.€

 
 
 
 
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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