February 8, 2012 weblog
Google rumored to have built Heads-Up-Display glasses prototype
(PhysOrg.com) -- 9to5Google is reporting that they have received a tip from someone they believe to be a reliable source saying that Google is working on a Heads-Up-Display (HUD) pair of eye-glasses. The person offering the tip has apparently seen a prototype and says the glasses resemble a pair of Oakley Thumps, except for the HUD side attachment. Oakley Thumps are sunglasses with earbuds attached.
According to the source, the HUD side attachment is not transparent and doesn’t have any 3D capabilities, thus it appears Google has simply affixed a Smartphone screen to the side of a pair of glasses. This news follows a report last December by the New York Times, where they said they had inside information indicating that Google was working on some type of “wearable” HUD.
This new source describes the glasses as having a very tiny camera mounted on the front and a flash unit of some kind, presumably to take pictures, but more likely to provide visual information for the HUD. Other features include a microphone and speakers, RAM storage and a processing chip to allow the glasses to run Android, which means they should function as a Smartphone, rather than as an accessory to one.
Perhaps most interesting is the means by which the HUD is controlled. The source says it’s done via slight, barely noticeable head movements and voice commands. Both of which are reportedly easy to get used to when actually using the device.
The source also says that Google appears uncertain regarding how to proceed with its prototype, as it’s not clear to them if it should be pushed as a pilot program ala the Cr-48 Chromebook, or sold directly to consumers as a cool geek toy.
This new HUD device, if it ever does hit the market, doesn’t appear to fulfill the likely expectations of sci-fi and gadget enthusiasts who have for years been dreaming of having their own Terminator or more recently Iron Man type glasses that are transparent and offer up relevant information about the environment in truly meaningful ways, such as what’s on the menu of a nearby restaurant, or the name and phone number of girls in a nightclub. Still, as with most new gadgetry, the first baby steps often lead to the eventual dream, and if Google does decide to sell some version of their new prototype, it’s likely many will want to at least try them out in anticipation of the next iteration.
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