I have to admit that when Google first unveiled its Glass wearable computer, I couldn't get past how dorky it looked. I couldn't see — no pun intended — how anyone would want to walk around and interact with others while they had a strange contraption attached to their heads.
But then, after a few days and a couple of beers, it dawned on me that Google Glass is just the latest in a long line of "things" that we've attached to out heads. Glasses, sunglasses, goggles, headphones, Bluetooth headsets, and more besides.
Attaching strange things to our heads is not a new concept.
That said, I still think Google Glass looks odd. Maybe it's because it has a sterile look, or maybe because it tries too hard to be invisible. While you might not draw attention to yourself wearing Glass in Silicon Valley, there aren't many other places on Earth where I feel that wearing a pair isn't going to cause people's heads to spin around so fast that they'd be at risk of snapping their own necks.
Nickolay Lamm and Mark Pearson, both of MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, have risen to the challenge of making Google Glass looks look a little more acceptable. To do this, Lamm and Pearson took two different approaches.
The first approach that the duo took to making Google Glass look less dorky was to make it smaller and less obtrusive.
In order to achieve this, Lamm and Pearson took the frame of the existing Google Glass concept and moved it to the back of the head. By doing this, the frame, along with the bulky hardware, is not visible on the face. This basically leaves a tiny lens sitting in front of the wearer's eye.
As far as the frame goes, Lamm and Pearson came up with two different designs. The first is based on the traditional "over the ear" Bluetooth headset, where Glass would fit onto one side of the head.
Here's how this design would look on the head. It's far less obtrusive than the current Google Glass concept, and adding color — possibly in the form of anodization to the frame — could create a fashion statement.
Another approach taken by the duo was to turn the Google glass frame into a wraparound design that fits behind the head, reminiscent of some sports earphones. Here the frame would give Google Glass a considerable level of stability, and allow for them to be used for extreme activities.
In its "Wearable heads-up display" patent, Google pointed out how the computing part of the device could be implemented into a "a personal headset device."
Plenty of people already wear glasses, so why not make Google Glass look like a pair of glasses?
Harvey Ho, who is listed alongside Sergey Brin as the inventor for the "Seeing with your hand" patent, filed a patent in 2009 for "an active contact lens system", which imagines a time when the entire assembly could be fitted into an eye-wearable device. However, until that's possible, making Google Glass look like glasses is probably the best way to make them more acceptable.
What could Google to address privacy concerns that Glass could be used to surreptitiously record people? Lamm and Pearson have addressed this concern by doing something we're already pretty familiar with when it comes to cameras: Adding a light. This way, people would know if they were being recorded, and act accordingly.
Simple, but it works.