If you’re a close follower of Google’s R&D coverage over the past few years you will quickly notice two things:
-Google’s projects are innovative and exciting. They seem to summon the next era of technological innovations and excite a lot of people in the process.
-Some of these projects fizzle out and are decommissioned quietly some months on (Google Wave, Google Buzz, and Google Video are just three of many that come to mind).
We are then placed face to face with Google’s latest hype; Project Glass. Not to be confused with Google Goggles, which is an app capable of searching the web based on photos and scans that the user provides, Project Glass (sometimes known as Google Glass) is an attempt to introduce wearable computers into everyday life. The concept itself is not a new one, but implementation strategies and funding differ in that this project is going mainstream.
Project Glass consists of high tech transparent glasses with a battery and an internet connection that can display information on top of what we actually see while transmitting information such as video and pictures to selected contacts. To put it simply, this would be the social media version of what the Terminator sees when wandering about. The information superhighway will transmit the data you choose to send or receive (and hopefully nothing else that we’re unaware of!) according to your instructions on a 3G or a 4G connection running on Android operating system.
We have the screen and webcam part explained with both of them sitting right on our eyes. So how would we control and manipulate the interface? The only possible way; voice and kinetic sensors. Tilting your head while wearing the glasses would enable you to scroll and click on information. Voice input will enable you to write text whenever needed.
A couple of questions remain.
How will we use it?
Google markets the product as a method to become a super-connected human being. Ideally, you’d be able to navigate using Google Maps to your favorite restaurant as you book your table and place your order. On the way, you might take a picture of something that you saw and then video chat with your friends about plans for the weekend. The glasses will be able to provide information relevant to your surroundings (closest bank, traffic data, etc.) which you can integrate into your daily life. That actually sounds incredible.
Will the technology come through?
Google has announced that it has some of its top people working on the project, with the company investing heavily in making it work. Nonetheless, there are significant technical challenges that must be overcome before the glasses hit the market. Such challenges include (but are not limited to): Designing a screen that will work in light and dark conditions, dynamic focusing (enabling the user to focus on both the screen and the real world), and other health considerations. We can’t give a definite ruling on that one, but our fingers are crossed.
This project has great potential to take the next leap in wearable/portable technology. Google has created a lovely demonstration of what such a video would look like. At a current price estimate of 2,840 QR and your willingness to risk a dorky look, all this could be yours!