Firstly, What Is This All About? Project Glass is essentially Google’s foray into wearable computing. What’s wearable computing? Simple – any battery-powered type of eyewear that lets people see the world through augmented reality (not the first time in history this has been done, but more on that later). Based on the video below, you’ll be able to do things like find places with sat-nav and take photos then share them people.
Now, onto the truths and myths about Project Glass -
Possibly True: If American tech blogger Seth Weintraub is as well-informed as some sites say he is, Google’s Project Glass glasses will likely use a transparent LCD or AMOLED display to place content and info in your view. It might also be location-aware, courtesy of a camera and GPS, and theoretically, you could scroll through daily tasks by simply tilting your head.
Fact: Project Glass is being developed by the Google X Lab (that’s actually it’s name), a secret tech research facility in California, separate from the company’s Mountain View headquarters.
Myth: While confirmed projects at Google’s X Lab include a space elevator and self-driving car, the company has neither affirmed nor denied the existence of a Google Killbot program.
Fact: Google cofounder Sergey Brin wore these to a Foundation Fighting Blindness fundraising dinner last month, just days after the project’s public announcement. According to the New York Times, we should expect to see them for sale before the end of 2012. But we’re not holding our breaths. According to this Tech Radar article, Indian inventor and MIT Media Lab research assistant, Pranav Mistry, “reckons [the NYT speculation on a release date] is nonsense, and the tech is at least two years away.”
Possibly True: That same NYT article says that the glasses will run Android, have motion sensors, GPS and either 3G or 4G data connections.
Myth: Project Glass needs actual glasses for you to experience the technology. This is not a joke. Google has assured the public that Project Glass works both with and without existing eyeglasses.
Fact: For technophiles who just can’t wait, University of Toronto professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Steve Mann, has spent the last 30 years developing the EyeTap eyeglass system, his own entry into wearable computing. The EyeTap unit is mounted over one eye, and features an integrated digital camera and projector that displays information about what you’re seeing directly onto your eye. U of T grad students and engineers are wearing prototypes right now.
Myth: Wearing a computer on your eye all day won’t have side effects. In fact, Mann wears his own EyeTap nearly all day, and complains of occasional nausea and headaches.
Most Likely A Myth: The launch will go flawlessly. Google+ is an unprecedented flop, as was Google Buzz. Worse still, a change to the way their search algorithm functions has left a sour taste in many user’s mouths, so Google is looking somewhat shaky.
Fact: This is not the first attempt to make a consumer-grade “head mounted display.” HMDs have been around since the 90s, though Project Glass may be the first to look like something you can actually wear everyday, rather than the ones Oakley and Japan’s Nippon Telegraph are working on.
Fact: Bluetooth headsets make you look like an ensign on board the Starship Enterprise. These won’t. They’ll make you look like the chief engineer.
Possibly True: The camera will suck. Google posted their first test shot using Project Glass’s built in camera, and the results resembled those of a camera phone’s… circa 2006.