The eyewear maker told Bloomberg that it is developing technology for integrating smartphone elements into its products. The science is only in the preliminary stage, however, as Oakley’s Chief Executive Officer Colin Baden (picture, left) would not even validate plans to launch such spectacles. He did explain his company’s stance on the project, though, while detailing how the public is yearning for a heads-up display:
“As an organization, we’ve been chasing this beast since 1997,” explained Baden. “Ultimately, everything happens through your eyes, and the closer we can bring it to your eyes, the quicker the consumer is going to adopt the platform.”
Colin then described a few features he would like to see in the product, such as voice-controlled display information in conjunction with a smartphone via Bluetooth. The company actually has a few patents in place that detail its vision (available here, and pictured above). Oakley’s augmented-reality glasses would obviously not be cheap for consumers— especially because its initial target audience consists of athletes and eventually the U.S. military:
“Obviously, you can think of many applications in the competitive field of sports,” Baden contended. “That’s the halo point of where we would begin, but certainly you can transcend that into a variety of other applications.”
Baden claimed Oakley would easily conquer competitors in this smart bifocals niche, because it is already skilled at producing attractive, fashionable accessories coupled with technology. In 2010, Oakley released the world’s first optically correct 3D glasses (pictured, below) that utilize the company’s HDO-3D technologies for optimizing 3D movie theaters around the world.
Despite Oakley’s eager plans, Google recently announced that it may skip the tangible accessory aspect all together, because it is currently testing a prototype intended to stream data directly into a user’s baby blues. This type of theoretical product exploration does not align with Google’s promo video of the augmented-reality glasses, which currently show a wearer communicating with friends through Webcam in real-time.
Whether or not Google is developing Google Glasses wear-less technology, it still needs to find a place for the product’s conceptual camera eye. In other words, maybe Oakley does have a chance to contend after all.
- HUD Google Glasses are real and they are coming soon (9to5google.com)
- NYTimes: Google X Glasses will be sold by year end with augmented reality interface (9to5google.com)
- More on the Google Project Glass including the first spotting on Sergey Brin (9to5google.com)
- Google Glasses parody video depicts ‘Battlefield 5′ virtual gaming (9to5google.com)