The next version of Google Glass could be more streamlined and more evolved than the original generation of devices, according to new Google patent details and drawings that were awarded this week.
Future Glass devices, which are still in development and have not yet been announced for retail sales, could include slimmer components over the wearer's ear and other refinements to make it sleeker and more unobtrusive, according to a Dec. 3 story in The (London) Daily Mail.
The patent applications and its drawings and details don't mean that Glass is undergoing a massive makeover, but could indicate that changes are coming in the future, the article said. The Google patent application was first filed in October 2011 and was awarded on Dec. 2, 2014.
The latest Glass design in the patent application doesn't include the casing that overhangs a wearer's left ear in the existing Google Glass Explorer edition, according to a Dec. 2 report by Quartz. In addition, the Glass part that hangs in front of a wearer's eye appears smaller than in the current design.
The approval of the patent application comes right on the heels of other intriguing Glass news recently. In late November, it was reported that Glass is moving to Intel processors to replace the Texas Instruments CPUs that presently power the devices, as Google works to refine and perhaps reimagine its Glass experiment.
The switch to Intel CPUs was reported Nov. 30 by The Wall Street Journal as part of a plan by Intel to move further into the expanding world of wearable technology. The parts switch will occur in a new version of Glass that is expected in 2015, according to unnamed sources quoted by The Journal.
And instead of following Google's strategy of promoting Glass as a consumer device, "Intel plans to promote Glass to companies such as hospital networks and manufacturers, while developing new workplace uses for the device," The Journal reported, based on one of its sources.
That actually could make more sense for Google as it works to develop a market for the eyewear-mounted devices, which are still in the development stages.
Lots of different businesses in a wide variety of industries have been using Glass devices in their work, including hospitals, airlines, manufacturing companies and even schools.
In April 2014, Google began a "Glass at Work" program to encourage businesses to learn more about how Glass might be integrated in useful ways for their employees and business processes. Two businesses that are already experimenting with Glass are the Washington Capitals NHL hockey club and oil field services company Schlumberger, according to an earlier eWEEK story.
The Glass at Work program is seeking developers to get involved with the effort to build more applications that can help businesses use Glass in their operations. Google built a sign-up page where developers can register to join the effort.
Google Glass has been a topic of conversation among techies since news of it first arrived in 2012. The first Google Glass units began shipping in April 2013 to developers who signed up at the June 2012 Google I/O conference to buy an early set for $1,500 for testing and development; it was the hit of the conference. Google also then began shipping Glass units to lucky users who were selected in the #ifihadglass contest for the opportunity to buy their own early versions of Glass.
Each Google Glass device includes adjustable nose pads and a high-resolution display that Google said is the equivalent of a 25-inch high-definition screen from 8 feet away. The glasses also feature a built-in camera that takes 5-megapixel photos and video at 720p. Audio is delivered to wearers through their bones, using bone-conduction transducers.