Like flying cars and time travel, eye glasses with computing power have long been sci-fi fantasy, relegated to Terminator movies and the like. Now it appears that Google may be a few months from selling a version of their own.
As per many reports, Google is expected to start selling eyeglasses that will project information, entertainment and, this being a Google product, advertisements onto the lenses. These glasses will have the combined features of virtual reality and augmented reality.
The Google Glasses can use a 4G cell connection to pull in information from Google’s mountain of data and display info about the real world in augmented reality on the lens in front of your eye. As you turn your head you’ll get information about your surroundings and nearby objects from Google Goggles, info on buildings and establishments from Google Maps, even your friends’ nearby check-ins from Latitude. The company has no plans to sell ads into your newly augmented view of the world, but will consider it if the product really catches on.The glasses are not being designed to be worn constantly — although Google engineers expect some users will wear them a lot — but will be more like smartphones, used when needed, with the lenses serving as a kind of see-through computer monitor.
Google glasses are basically wearable computers, that will use the same Android software that powers Android smartphones and tablets. Like smartphones and tablets, the glasses will be equipped with GPS and motion sensors. They will also contain a camera and audio inputs and outputs.Several people who have seen the glasses, but who are not allowed to speak publicly about them, said that the location information was a major feature of the glasses. Through the built-in camera on the glasses, Google will be able to stream images to its rack computers and return augmented reality information to the person wearing them. For instance, a person looking at a landmark could see detailed historical information and comments about it left by friends. If facial recognition software becomes accurate enough, the glasses could remind a wearer of when and how he met the vaguely familiar person standing in front of him at a party. They might also be used for virtual reality games that use the real world as the playground.
Google says it won’t comment on rumors about these glasses. But even if Google doesn’t actually build a wearable computer into your shades sometime in the near future, devices like this are coming. Two small firms, Vuzix and Lumus Optics, already have working prototypes of similar devices.Vuzix built its glasses with funding help from DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The company hopes to start delivering glasses to the military and to industry this year. Vuzix aims to release a product aimed at consumers in 2013.Lumus — which is based in Israel — says it’s already working with a number of top consumer device makers on its prototype.