Thursday, April 05, 2012

Google begins testing its augmented reality 'smartglasses'

Google has begun testing the head's up "smartglasses" we wrote about earlier. The augmented reality glasses, which sound a lot like an eyewear version of a smart device, are coming out of the company's Google X skunkworks lab.

The project is dubbed Project Glass. In its Google+ post, the company says:

"We think technology should work for you - to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don’t."

These glasses, which resemble a stylish pair of wrap-around glasses, but with only a small, thin clear display that sits above a wearer's right eye (we'd guess the final product would be adjustable for either eye), not full lenses. That sort of design keeps the augmented reality glasses out of the way, keeping information out of the way, so that "the real world" is still readily visible.

According to the New York Times, which first wrote about the glasses in late February,

"The glasses can stream information to the lenses and allow the wearer to send and receive messages through voice commands. There is also a built-in camera to record video and take pictures."

Earlier reports said the smartglasses would function as a phone, not just transport data. We wouldn't be surprised, considering the current state of technology and how much real estate components take up, to see some of that communications hardware put into self-contained hardware you might wear on your belt, which communicates with the glasses via BlueTooth or other wireless medium.

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Google wants feedback and ideas for the new augmented reality glasses. The company said, in its Google+ post, that "we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input."

Watch a video below. It shows potential uses for for the smartglasses. A man is shown spending a day walking around the streets of New York City, all from the perspective of the augmented-reality glasses.

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