Google’s Augmented Reality Project

April 15, 2012 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

Hello again.  As long as we’re discussing recent projects by Google, you may have seen their new video online or in the news recently.  First released on Wednesday, April 4, this video announces Google’s intent to develop a set of augmented reality glasses.  They call it Project Glass.

 

The project is in its very early stages, and the photographs we can see now are only “design photos,” as opposed to working prototypes.

At this point in development, researchers are interested mainly in getting feedback on the design of the glasses. A group of Google X employees including Babak Parviz, Steve Lee and Sebastian Thrun posted, “We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input.  So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do. …What would you like to see from Project Glass?”

Some features shown in the video include checking the weather, exchanging messages with contacts, finding directions and details on transportation availability, taking photos of something the wearer is looking at, and video chatting.  All of these features are controlled by voice recognition; the wearer can give commands simply by speaking.

Of course, from the information presented in the video, there are some observable things that could become problematic for users.  Examples might include background noise being picked up by the microphone, errors in speech recognition, the possibility of diminished privacy because the glasses see everything the user sees, and the fact that the video chat feature is not actually face-to-face.  One issue that will need to be solved is whether people who already wear prescription glasses can wear Google’s augmented reality glasses as well – this one is being addressed now, and you can read more here.

But with that said, it remains an interesting concept – after all, to have brought the project this far, Google’s engineers must have put some extensive thought into the design.  Despite an earlier report, there are no plans for a release in 2012; it will be necessary to get more feedback and revise the design while the project is in its early stages of development.  As of now, the release date (if Google continues to move forward) is yet to be known.  I don’t think I’d ever wear them on a regular basis, personally, but I’m curious to know whether a working prototype will be developed and released in the next year or two.  Those interested will just have to follow it and see how things develop.

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