We detailed the first information about the Google [x] Glasses project in December.
They are in late prototype stages of wearable glasses that look similar to thick-rimmed glasses that “normal people” wear. However, these provide a display with a heads up computer interface. There are a few buttons on the arms of the glasses, but otherwise, they could be mistaken for normal glasses. Additionally, we are not sure of the technology being employed here, but it is likely a transparent LCD or AMOLED display such as the one demonstrated below:
In addition, we have heard that this device is not an “Android peripheral” as the NYT stated. According to our source, it communicates directly with the Cloud over IP. Although, the “Google Goggles” could use a phone’s Internet connection, through Wi-Fi or a low power Bluetooth 4.0.
The use-case is augmented reality that would tie into Google’s location services. A user can walk around with information popping up and into display -Terminator-style- based on preferences, location and Google’s information.
Therefore, these things likely connect to the Internet and have GPS. They also likely run a version of Android.
Since then, we have learned much more regarding Google’s glasses…
Our tipster has now seen a prototype and said it looks something like Oakley Thumps (below). These glasses, we heard, have a front-facing camera used to gather information and could aid in augmented reality apps. It will also take pictures. The spied prototype has a flash —perhaps for help at night, or maybe it is just a way to take better photos. The camera is extremely small and likely only a few megapixels.
The heads up display (HUD) is only for one eye and on the side. It is not transparent nor does it have dual 3D configurations, as previously speculated.
One really cool bit: The navigation system currently used is a head tilting-to scroll and click. We are told it is very quick to learn and once the user is adept at navigation, it becomes second nature and almost indistinguishable to outside users.
(As an aside, I built a head mouse as a Masters Thesis project a few years back that used head tilts to navigate and control menus. I am ready to collect royalties!)
I/O on the glasses will also include voice input and output, and we are told the CPU/RAM/storage hardware is near the equivalent of a generation-old Android smartphone. As a guess, we would speculate something like 1GHz ARM A8, 256MB RAM and 8GB of storage? In any case, it will also function as a smartphone.
Perhaps most interesting is that Google is currently deciding on how it wants to release these glasses, even though the product is still a very long way from being finished. It is currently a secret with only a few geeky types knowing about it, and Google is apparently unsure if it will have mass-market appeal. Therefore, the company is considering making this a pilot program, somewhat like the Cr-48 Chromebooks last year.
Yes, Google might actually release this product as beta-pilot program to people outside of Google—and soon.
FYI Motorola’s got something cool in this area brewing as well (thanks commenter!).
- Google X’s wearable technology isn’t an iPod Nano, but rather a heads up display (glasses) (9to5google.com)
- Google testing mysterious “entertainment device”, is it Google’s glasses? (9to5google.com)
- Google X is actually Google [x] (as in “solve for X”) and there is a We Solve for [x] Conference happening now #solveforx (9to5google.com)
- Google poaches Apple’s Senior Director of Product Integrity for secret project, maybe to work on Google X? (9to5mac.com)
- Google poaches Apple’s Senior Director of Product Integrity for secret project, maybe to work on Google X? (9to5google.com)
- NYT: Apple’s been “conceptualizing and even prototyping some wearable devices” (9to5mac.com)
- Google releases updates for Google Maps, Goggles and Listen apps (9to5google.com)