Google Releasing Computerised Glasses
It’s one of those inventions that seemed logically inevitable. As computers have become almost effortlessly mobile, with the introduction of smart phones, many wondered when the fabled hands-free computerised glasses (otherwise know as Augmented Reality Glasses) would hit the market. While many semi-functional concept models have surfaced over the years, nothing was really commercially viable.
Then at the 2012 Google I/O conference in San Francisco, they previewed their attempt at this bleeding edge technology. And not just as a “this might be a commercial option in the future” concept but as an actually product. Developers attending the conference could even order them for a relatively paltry $ 1 500, with deliveries apparently going out early next year. Sales are still restricted to the who attended the conference as Google works out the kinks but, if all goes well, it may not be long until it comes to the market.
Google are throwing around the product name ‘Google Glass Explorer Edition’ but this may change. Purportedly the device will have all the functions and capacity of today’s smart phones: Memory, processor, Android OS and 4G capable. In addition, as it’s hands-free, it will make use of optical tracking software and motion and GPS sensors.
Physically, it resembles a pair of lenseless spectacles with with a device running along one of the arms, ending with a small transparent screen placed just above one eye’s field of vision. Google does however say that the design may change substantially before it reaches the market.
Some publicised functions at the moment are:
- GPS Navigation
- Video Chat
- Internet Browsing
The invention was introduced as a product of their X Labs. It was the subject of an exciting demonstration that had skydivers outfitted with the glasses and jump out of a plane onto the roof of the conference. All of this was fed to the conference and displayed onto a large screen, demonstrating the purest point-of-view visualisation in history.
Not much is known of Google’s secret X lab. They focus on future technologies, often with an emphasis on the fantastical. Some of their other exciting projects in development include:
- A self driving car that is fully functional and requires relatively minor hardware and data changes to the average motor-vehicle. No immediate plans for commercialisation though.
- A space elevator that will make space travel less constrained. It involves shooting a big cable 35 000 km into space from the equator with a counterweight at the end and letting gravity (and lack thereof) keep it there. This is a very old concept (over 100 years) but has been impossible due to material strength constraints.
- Neural Network- computers that work like the human brain (i.e. capable of inferences and learning). Essentially, this type of technology is the foundation of what we know as Artificial Intelligence.