Revealed: Google's "Project Glass" augmented reality glasses (video)

Revealed: Google's "Project Glass" augmented reality glasses (video)

Summary: Dubbed "Project Glass" Google's efforts to create consumer-friendly augmented reality glasses may just change the way people interact with the world.

TOPICS: Google

In February, the news dropped that Google was in the midst of a semi-secret augumented reality glasses-based project then called, affectionately, "Google Googles."

Now, months later, Google is lifting the veil on what it's working on. Dubbed "Project Glass" the efforts center around Google X, a secret Google lab that focuses on such unlikely projects as augmented reality glasses and space-bound elevators.

As seen in the shot above, the glasses, which wrap around the face, don't look too bad. And that's a good thing seeing as how Google plans to test the devices in public in the coming months. (Also potentially in the wings? Augmented reality contacts.)

Google laid out its vision for the project in a post on Google+:

We think technology should work for you—to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don’t.

A 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. So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do.

In the accompanying video (posted below) Google makes it a bit more clear what consumers could expect from the final product. Many of the features - voice commands, embedded camera, Google Maps integration - have been previously rumored, but it's compelling to actually see them in action. Whether they will work quite as well in reality is, so far, uncertain.

[Via The New York Times and Google +]

Topic: Google

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  • That's very innovative

    it can deliver advertisements when you look at something. That would take the google services one step farther. You probably have to be able to click on the pop ups using your eye movement.
    The Linux Geek
    • "can deliver advertisements"?

      There's is no doubt that it [b]absolutely will[/b], so the question will be if you can turn those off.

      For example, if you think that when you look at a concert poster you'll [i]need[/i] to inform the system to remind you about it, you're nuts! If anything you'll need to tell the system to [b]stop[/b] showing you reminders for the concert, ads for ticket agencies, the location of music stores with the artist's recordings in stock, offers to download the latest tracks, and/or a list of your Google+ friends who have listened or are listening to that artist. Plus, if you actually do make any of those purchases, expect all of those same people to be informed of that decision.

      No, if anyone doesn't expect to have retailer offers, restaurant menus, social media alerts, or any other manner of paid interaction with a Google advertiser constantly streamed into your eyeball, you've clearly never used a Google service.
      • that's called synergy of

        advertisement and technology for the masses through revolutionary google services.
        The Linux Geek
    • You'll love this LG

      Pity Microsoft holds the patent ;-)
      • Kopin

        Kopin has all the patents on nano-display tech, meaning they either have to use their stuff or magically invent some nonexistent technology.
  • Useless concept

    But as entertainment for tech media, it works well.
    • Not Useless

      Why do you think such a concept has been in sci-fi movies for forever? The possibility for a HUD utilizing FOF tags would cut down on friendly fire quite a bit. Not to mention all of the consumer uses for easy access AR.
    • really?

      when it brings in billions in ads, I would not call it useless, but lucrative.
      The Linux Geek
    • And I'd call that ANNOYING

      @The Linux Geek It's one thing to be pimped out by Google in exchange (pardon the pun) for ad-supported free email. It's another thing when you're constantly barraged with ads, offers, and other paid information displayed directly to your eye. Plus, I think Google would face some extensive regulatory scrutiny over product like this.
  • Was kinda hoping for binocular displays

    Monocular is cool, but I wanted 3D projected AR. Glad Google got the "conversation" started. Now, hopefully, this will light a fire under RSD display makers to prioritize mobile eyewear. Yes, I'm looking at you, MVIS!
    • Vuzix

      Vuzix is king in that arena...although Virtual IO has been around the longest...their stuff is kinda ugly though. Most setups cost between $200 and $600 for the base models:

      This stuff has been around for a LOOOOONG time now...I bought my first pair of VR glasses way back in 1996...cost about a $600 bucks at the time, including the head tracker and computer interface. They didn't have portable battery units back then like they do now though. Pinch gloves were quite a lot extra. I guess if you're a n00b all this stuff seems "new to you", but really, Google would be far better off simply buying out Vuzix or one of the established companies, rather than trying to break in on an industry they clearly know absolutely nothing about.
  • Fake, Fake, Fake, Fake!

    Too bad it's all fake though, huh? The only company currently manufacturing nano-display systems capable of this technology is Kopin CyberDisplay, with their newest product (which they own the patent on by the by) the SXGA LV which sports a resolution of 1280x1024 in a screen about one quarter the size of a DIME! How much does it cost? Don't ask! It's so outrageously expensive that *NO* current VR manufacturer in existence is even ~trying~ to market a product making use of them!

    The current "best" on the market is the Vuzix Wrap 1200, which has twin 852 x 480 LCD displays...nice, but no where even remotely close to what's needed for a proper augmented reality system. Cost by the way is $500 bucks!

    The best overall deal is probably i-O i-glasses 920HR model, for ~only~ $300 bucks, which has twin 800x600 LCD displays. Such systems are good for playing video games and watching movies in low resolution...but that's pretty well it. You can't use them as a replacement to your desktop monitor...the resolution just isn't good enough.

    There are some rather innovative attempts at creating augmented reality glasses by having the user wear regular clear glasses and then using a small projection system to simply project the augmented bits onto the clear lenses...but they're pretty limited as far as what you can do.

    As far as Google...this is merely a cheap publicity stunt, nothing more, and they CANNOT "make their own" for "cheaper" because it's KOPIN who owns ALL THE PATENTS on nano-display tech. Google is SOL unless they go through them...and that means an absolute Brobdingnagian cost for these supposed products.
    • Of course it's fake, it's proof of concept.

      From a project management perspective you incorporate, and develop, the technology shown to run on Android phones. You serve up the same information and interface on a handset held in front of you. Once you have that down, you just wait for the hardware technology to catch up with your software. All the while reducing complexity and increasing efficiency. Hopefully you reach a meeting point where the reduced the hardware demands of your software equal the increased capacities and decreased requirements of the hardware.

      Let's not overlook that the display is hardly the biggest hardware hurdle. The processing power required to drive this would not be negligible, nor would the power requirements. Plus, even from this demo it's clear that such a device would use a great deal of bandwidth, and it would likely be a situation where more users would consume additional bandwidth exponentially as opposed to linearly.

      It's also important to remember that such a device, if allowed to function in the manner Google would probably most desire, could generate enormous amounts of revenue per user, so Google would be in a position to heavily subsidize devices. Of course, many regulatory agencies may impose privacy, security, and competitive restrictions that would decrease its profitability.
      • Wrong!

        I really, really don't think you comprehend the cost of these things. Let me put it this way...they're so expensive...they don't even ~quote~ a cost on their product information page! We're talking THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of dollars...for *ONE*...and you need at least two for a proper augmented reality system.

        Processing power? Puhlease, that's the easiest part. Granted stickin it into the glasses themselves would be pretty difficult, but they can just include a wired system that fits into yer pocket, wouldn't need to be any bigger than an iPhone.

        In fact that's what people do currently. Like I use my Vuzix Wrap 1200 VR glasses in conjunction with my PSP, my tiny little MP3/4 music/video player as well as my portable DVD player. Most all the major VR product manufacturers have portable battery units that work with their devices, usually providing around 4 to 6 hours of power on average. You can see some reviews I've done on various models here:

        ...ALL of those products by the by are based on Kopin tech...they have to be, because again, THEY own all the patents on nano-display tech.
      • A bit dramatic aren't we?

        First of all, every technology always decreases in cost as fabrication processes improve, supplies increase, and applications grow more numerous. Once upon a time a 30 MB hard disk cost $160K and was the size of a washing machine. Second, this system isn't VR, it's clearly just a projection and eye-tracking system. Pico projectors are now built-in to smartphones, and Canon has had eye-tracking technology in it's cameras for decades. While I'm positive we won't see anything like this video this year, we should have the vast majority of those technologies in a commercially available product within 2 years. Google has to be close, or they wouldn't have released this video. They're not stupid, and no one wants to the next company to pull a "Microsoft Courier."
      • MS had a much better proof of concept about 6 months back or so.

        The kick is, as shown this it still pie in the sky and 3-5 years from proof of concept. Another 4-7 years till market ready. Simply the optics sub-system is a patent mine field with many established companies holding key optics tech. Processing is easy but battery is g to be hard (BT 4.0 might help).

        As it is, it is yet another stupid pie in the sky video; and MS's VR glasses seemed to have a much better and more thought out UI.
      • Not The Pie In The Sky...Just Costly

        @Bruizer - Pie in the sky? No it's not! Hell you can buy any cheap old pair of VR glasses and then simply swap out the displays with Kopin's latest and greatest...of course it's gonna cost ya upwards of $10,000 minimum.

        The prices do come down ~eventually~, but it takes a long time. For example I bought one of the very first commercial portable DVD players when they first came out, back around 1998...for a THOUSAND dollars! Flash forward nearly 15 years later and you can buy 'em for about a $100 bucks at K-Mart. Same deal here, it'll be at ~least~ another five to ten years before this becomes viable as far as a general commercial product, but even then you can expect to pay upwards of $500 bucks easy.

        Personally I'm waiting for Vuzix to do it. I like their stuff cause they don't use propriety battery crap, you can use regular, rechargeable AAs and get around five hours of use out of them (for the display only).

        If you wanted your own right now you'd of course have to program all the software yourself, which would be a bit of a pain. Probably best to use an old PSP, most cost effective that way. PSPs are easy to jail-break and once you do they're basically just a portable computer.

        The only difficult thing would be if you wanted to add some kind of pupil tracker for completely hands free operation, that would get even more costly and cumbersome. It'd be easier to just use some kind of VR pinch glove control type setup...but that's going to add even more to the cost. I never even bought a pinch glove with my VR tech cause it was going to cost too much. I stopped at the head tracker and computer interface gear.
  • Can you just imagine the next generation of licensed drivers wearing

    these augmented glasses on the road. Just think of all the fun they will be having reading their email going down the highway at 70 mph! What joy. Or looking at their friend's latest Facebook wall updates. As the driver steers past an accident, he could snap a picture of the carnage and then post that image on the web cite of his choice. Imagine a business video conference meeting being conducted on the road at 70 mph using these glasses. The time our next generation will save working 24/7 and being totally wired to "everything at every moment". And we thought the Borg was still a race waiting to be discovered by the Federation in the 23rd century. Ha!

    Within five years, this concept will be available. Do you want your teenage child using this gadget while driving? Do you want your teenage child on the road while someone else is driving with this thing on?

    Just food for thought.
  • Angry Birds on the Highway

    Very lovely video, but (as I have post repeatedly) imagine drivers coming at you with those things on? How does one tell if they are eyeing the road or their girlfriend's tweeties? Is he simply texting (bad enough, Siri or no) or is he and angry bird hurtling at all around? And the policeman (also wearing them)?
  • Nice evolution

    A far jump from my last experience with this sort of thing - Sony's (perhaps) original effort maybe 15 years ago. I had a pair of their glasses. looked like bulky sunglasses but made quite a good image. Had only two displays and a set of ear speakers built in. $1500 at the time IIRC.

    So now the driver of the other vehicle won't drop her cellphone while texting and swerve into my lane while trying to retrieve it from the floor. Instead, the driver will just plow straight ahead while reading the text and speaking to the voice recognition.

    A complaint now made and put aside as a normal hazard of everyday life, I really like this product concept and I challenge Google to not be a 4-eyes hater and make a version that clips onto glasses without looking weird. Then I can buy one.