Google Glass Project Headed to Developers this Year

Babak Parviz lays out Google’s vision for the Glass project and addresses concerns that the technology might be harmful to people.  

Search engine giant Google has been playing around with its Glass project, a pair of smart glasses that offer a heads up display for the wearer, and is gearing up to send the device to developers early this year, designer Babak Parviz said in an interview with IEEE Spectrum.

Over the course of the interview, Parviz touches on some of the challenges inherent to the platform, including the power drain that video applications would cause and how to design applications suited for an augmented reality experience. He also lays out Google’s vision for the Glass project and addresses concerns that the technology might be harmful to people.

“We wanted to have a device that would do two things that we think would be useful for a lot of people. One is to have a device that would allow for pictorial communications, to allow people to connect to others with images and video. Right now, we don’t have any devices that are specifically engineered to connect to others using images or video,” he said. “So we wanted to have a device that would see the world through your eyes and allow you to share that view with other people. The second big goal was to have a technology that would allow people to access information very, very quickly. So when you have a question, you can very rapidly get to the answer.”

Google demonstrated a prototype of the special eyeglasses at its I/O Conference in July 2012 that focused on the basic components of Google Glass, including an Android-powered display, a tiny webcam, a GPS locator and Internet connection node built into one side of a pair of glasses.

Underneath the surface, there's a lot more potential to the whole Google Glass concept, according to the patent application. The glasses use a side-mounted touch-pad that allows users to control its various functions according to the patent paperwork. The glasses will be able to display a wide range of views, depending on user needs and interests. One potential view is a real-time image on the see-through display on the glasses, the patent application states.

The patent application also describes many of the multiple ways of performing the same tasks, suggesting just how much the Project Glass effort is still evolving even as the project continues. One description details how the side-mounted touch-pad could be a physical or virtual component and that it could include a heads-up display on the glasses with lights that get brighter as the user's finger nears the proper touch-pad button.