April 6, 2012

Google Internet Glasses: Facts, Features & Competition

Google has now offered a look at a previously secret project to develop internet-connected glasses. Google's internet glasses, still in a prototype stage, enables Google take lead in a futuristic fast-growing area known as wearable computing.

Google's Internet Glasses Facts & Features
  • Google's internet glasses would place a small see through display screen above a person’s eye that can show maps and other data. 
  • The wearer of Google internet glasses could use voice commands to pull up directions or send a message to a friend.
  • The glasses feature tiny cameras and on-lens displays to discretely show data. Built-in microphones let wearers control it through voice command
  • Google is calling its eyeglass effort Project Glass
  • The design prototype Google unveiled looks more like a well-designed pair of wraparound glasses — but with no actual glass in the frames. 
  • Google was having its employees test out dozens of other designs, with the goal of giving outsiders access to an early version later this year.
  • It is unclear when the glasses might be commercially available.
  • People who have seen and used working prototypes said there seemed to be a misconception that the glasses would interfere with daily life by bombarding wearers with information and distracting them from the real world.
Google Wearable Computing Team
Google has amassed some of the leading experts in this field within Google X, a company lab responsible for such projects that was also something of a company which was secret
  • Richard DeVaul, a former Apple engineer who specializes in wearable computers, left that company last year to join Google X. He is now a “rapid evaluator” working in a team at Google run by Astro Teller
  • Astro Teller specializes in artificial intelligence and wearable devices. 
  • Babak Parviz, who is also an associate professor at the University of Washington, specializes in bionanotechnology, the fusion of biology and technology focused on manipulating atoms and molecules. He most recently built a contact lens with embedded electronics that form a miniature display — raising the possibility that Project Glass, as Google is calling its eyeglass effort, could become Project Contact Lens at some point.
Google's Wearable Computing Competition
  • Apple is also reportedly working on wearable computers. In April 2008, Apple filed a patent for a headmounted display system that showed glasses with screens.
  • Nike began selling a bracelet called the Fuel-Band earlier this year that tracks a person’s activity.
  • A company called Jawbone sells a similar monitoring device called Up.
  • Motorola sells a head-mounted display device aimed at business use called the Golden-I, with the screen on an arm that hangs in front of the wearer’s face.

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