Google Glass hasn't even hit the retail market yet, but already rumors have begun to fly about what its eventual successor will look like in Google's next iteration of its innovative eyewear-mounted computer.
In what's purported to be a look inside a recent patent application for Google Glass 2, a Feb. 23 report on the Patent Bolt blog describes what could be coming—a dual-eye version using specialized lasers that would provide a dual-eye image for the user, rather than the original version's one-eye capability.
"Now Google Glass Part 2 is in the works which is about dual-eye displays known as binocular Head Mounted Displays," according to the blog post. "This type of Glass holds a few more challenges concerning the perfecting of alignment so that computer graphic images (CGIs) projected onto the lenses are correct for both the right and left lenses. To achieve this, specialized lasers have been designed to pull it off just right. You know it's a serious project at Google when its co-founder Sergey Brin is the lead inventor."
To deal with the extra technical challenges of providing images for both eyes of user, the Google Glass 2 patent application focuses "on a system and method for sensing alignment between eye pieces of a binocular head-mounted display (HMD)," reported Patent Bolt. That system, which appears to use laser alignment sensors that will allow the glasses to fit different-sized heads, is apparently part of the patent application.
"For example, if a binocular HMD is too narrow for a given user's head, the user's head will assert outward forces on each of the ear arms of the binocular HMD causing the ear arms to spread, thereby flexing the frontal display section about the nose bridge," the article states. "To a lesser extent, the opposite effect, by the ears applying an inward compressing force to the ear arms, can occur if the user's head is too narrow.
"Additionally, if the user's ears are not symmetrical (i.e., one ear is higher than the other), a torsion force (or twisting) can be applied to the ear arms causing the left and right sides of the binocular HMD to twist about the nose bridge. Both of these rotational deformations can result in misalignment between the right and left displays of a binocular HMD," the article continued.
Talk of a Google Glass successor is intriguing, especially because the development of the original Glass version is still continuing in earnest.
Earlier this month, Google announced that it is expanding its Google Glass testing pool to get more testers and collect additional input for the still-evolving project. The company is inviting interested applicants to submit proposals through Feb. 27 for a chance to buy an early model and become a part of its continuing development.
So far, Glass has only been available to developers who attended the annual Google I/O Conference in June 2012, where the devices were unveiled officially. Those developers were given the first chances to buy the first "Explorer Edition" units of the product for $1,500 each when they are offered for sale this year.
Now, though, Google is ready to expand the testing to the general public, with some conditions, according to the company. The biggest caveat is that participants who are chosen would first have to buy a set of Glass for $1,500 plus taxes.
As part of the expanded testing program, Google also unveiled some cool new details about Glass through a brief video that explores some of its early capabilities.
Google recently held two "hackathon" events in New York City and San Francisco as part of its "Glass Foundry" program to collect developer input for the devices with an emphasis on developing the Google Mirror API. Attendees were given access to a Glass device for use and testing.
The company will also hold a Building New Experiences with Glass session March 11 at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference to further the project's development.
Google also recently unveiled that the Glass devices will transmit sound to its users via vibrations through human bones rather than relying on traditional speakers.
The basic components of Glass feature an Android-powered display, a tiny Webcam, a GPS locator and an Internet connection node built into one side of a pair of glasses. The glasses are lightweight and may or may not have lenses.
An actual Google Glass device was spotted in public Jan. 21 being used by Google co-founder Brin on a New York subway train.