Patent Images 2015-04-22 09-55-36

Google is hard at work designing the next hardware iteration of Glass, but not many details have surfaced regarding what the next generation be capable of nor what it will look like. Patents are definitely not the most reliable source of “leaks,” but sometimes they can give us a good overarching idea of the direction a company might be headed. A new patent published recently gives us yet another peek at what the next Google Glass might look like, and this looks more believable than anything we’ve seen up to this point…

As you can see, the device seems to feature a prism that’s very similar to the one on the current Google Glass, and the above depicted device likely has a touch-sensitive control pad on the left side as well. Speaking of left side, it’s interesting to note that this “Wearable display device” (as Google calls it) seems to move the viewable prism from the right side—where it is on the current model—to the left side. Also, it appears as if the camera module has been relocated to be separate from the prism, located by itself on the right side.

Sources familiar with at least one next-gen Google Glass prototype have told us that there was a version of the device being tested earlier this year that folds and looks a lot like a regular pair of glasses. While we’re not confident that this is the version or design of Google Glass that the company is moving forward with for the retail product, the above patent published yesterday, numbered D727,317, seems to depict a device that would fall pretty well in line with that description.

Contrary to popular belief, Google Glass is far from being “dead”—and we published a couple of articles earlier this year outlining why this is the case. In fact, Google is currently targeting a release—or at least an announcement—of the next-generation Google Glass for sometime later in 2015, and the shuffling of engineers on the project (as well as job listings that have appeared on LinkedIn) suggests that the team being headed up by Tony Fadell and Ivy Ross will be taking a fresh approach this time around. Google has confirmed that they’re not going to do any public testing this time.

This filing surfaced not long after a different Glass-related patent was published last week, showing technology that could be used for eye-tracking features in the upcoming hardware revision. It’s worth noting that other Google Glass-related patents have popped up over the last several months, so this one might very well be just be yet another filing that doesn’t mean anything at all. I like this design, personally, so I’m hoping it’s not.

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Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.