Google unveiled on Wednesday last week a concept that has been rumoured for quite a time now called “Project Glass”. This new technology functions like a smartphone, only in the form of a wearable device that looks like eyeglasses.
As was shown in the concept video released on YouTube, the see-through lens will be capable of displaying everything from text messages to maps to reminders. It may also be capable of showing video chats, providing detailed directions, taking photos and recording notes through voice commands.
Project Glass is a long way from completion and Google says it only showed the device to the public in an effort to collect feedback. The project has been under development by a small team of engineers for two years now.
Built in Google’s Google X laboratory, the same techno-forward research facility that is also developing the Driverless Car and a “space elevator”, the glasses are still on its development stage.
Google did not say as to when the device would hit the stores or how much it could cost but Google X engineers are starting to test prototypes beyond the limits of the laboratory’s walls.
One of the things researchers have yet to decide on, with which they are working on field tests, is whether the glasses should be working on their own or should it need the wireless support of a smartphone.
The exact form and experience is still in the early stages of designing, but the company has procured a concept design easily taken from a sci-fi movie. Although it could possibly base on the structure of eyeglasses, it does not quite look like it.
The concept video showed a small piece of glass on the right eye and none on the left. Google intentionally unmatched the design to the end to expound precisely on its Google Plus page:
“We think technology should work for you – to be there when you need it and get it out of the way when you don’t.”
The programming seems to be a lot more dexterous and neater than the hardware, with user-friendly icons and modest notifications. However, Google’s concept video depicted possibly the most forlorn imagery of the future.
The day starts for a man by putting on his glasses then goes on through the day talking to himself and not really seeing anyone personally, except one pat with a bulldog and a quick drop at a coffee truck with a friend. A notification viewed in the morning saying, “See Jess tonight at 6:30 p.m.”, ended being a video chat instead of being an actual date. At sunset, he serenades his friend with a ukulele but did not actually meet her.
The New York Times had suggested that the glasses might go on sale with a starting price ranging from $250 to $600 before year-end, but experts say the project has a long way to go before completion.
Chris Green, from Davies Murphy Group Europe, says that other technological firms such as Brother have tried to institute the idea but hindered by hardware support requirements, such as separate processing and battery equipment needed to plug into and carry along with the glasses.
“There are huge opportunities for tailored advertising with augmented reality systems – especially if they have built-in GPS location tracking,” he said. “The monetisation opportunities would be enormous – but there are still big issues involved with shrinking the technology and making the computer that receives and processes the data truly portable.”
What “Project Glass” will turn out to be and whether it will actually hit the stores – one can only guess. However, Google X’s futurist draft sure seems to be a foreboding of plastic pad technologies with which we are used to today could soon be a thing of the past.