Augmented-reality applications — software that overlays a level of digital information on top of the physical world around us — have brought us more data. With an augmented-reality app on your smartphone, you might be able to hold your phone’s camera up to capture the image of a city street. Looking at the screen, you can see information about your surroundings. The augmented reality app maps digital information to your real-world surroundings.
While these apps can be informative and entertaining, the form factor is still a little clunky. We have to hold up the smartphone and look at the screen — it’s like you’re on a “Star Trek” away team, and you’re the one with the tricorder.
Google’s answer to the problem comes in the form of a wearable device. It looks like a pair of sunglasses with one side of the frames thicker than the other. It’s called Project Glass, and it might turn your world into endless amounts of information.
One of Google‘s many divisions is called Google X. Claire Cain Miller and Nick Bilton wrote about the secret experimental lab in The New York Times. Their description makes it sound like Google X is equal parts computer lab and mad scientist’s lair. Projects at Google X tackle big problems in engineering. Everything from networked homes to space elevators gets a shot within the lab. One of the many projects the division is working on is Project Glass.
Back in April 2012, a Project Glass account appeared on Google’s social networking platform Google Plus. The account’s first post revealed the purpose of the project — to build a wearable computer that helps you “explore and share your world” [source: Project Glass]. The post included a concept video of what the project might be able to do in the future.
The product was a pair of glasses. In other posts and articles, Google released more details about the glasses. Some versions had no lenses. What all versions did have was a thick area of the frame over the right eye. This is where Google put the screen for the glasses. To look at the screen, you have to glance up with your eyes. The placement was important — putting the screen in your direct line of vision could result in some serious problems.
According to the video, here are some things we might expect Project Glass to do once the technology matures:
- Remind you of appointments and calendar events
- Alert you to social networking activity or text messages
- Give turn-by-turn directions
- Alert you to travel options like public transportation
- Give you information like weather and traffic
- Take and share photos and video
- Use voice-recognition software to send messages or activate apps
- Perform Google searches
- Participate in video chats on Google Plus
- Overlay information on top of physical locations
That last category is a big one. Imagine looking at a building and seeing the names of the businesses inside it or glancing at a restaurant and being able to take a peek at the menu. With the right application, you could apply dozens of filters to provide different types of information.
For example, let’s say you’re in London, sporting your snazzy Project Glass glasses. You take a look at the new Globe Theatre and ask for more information. You’re given choices — do you want to learn about the history of the original Globe Theatre? Would you like to learn about the new version that opened in the 1990s? Or maybe you just want to see what productions are currently running on the stage this season. Project Glass could potentially provide you all of that information.
Looking even further into the future, you might be able to use Project Glass to help you keep track of the people in your life, or learn more about the people you meet. With facial recognition software and social networking, it’s possible you could take a look at someone you’ve just met and see their public profiles on any number of social platforms.
For more Detail: How Project Glass Will Work