For those of you unfamiliar with Google’s (Nasdaq: GOOG) “Google X,” here’s a quick rundown…
It’s essentially a special research lab with missions so secretive “that many [Google] employees do not even know the lab exists,” according to The New York Times.
Google X has 100 or so projects under its belt right now. And while most of these are so advanced that they’re years from becoming a reality – like robotic personal assistants and elevators that blast you into space – some are already inching closer to mainstream use. One of which is the self-driving car, which has already been given regulatory approval in Nevada.
And another creation has been making headlines recently that could find its way to consumers soon, Project Glass.
Eye Glasses of the Future
The Project Glass initiative involves a pair of glasses that performs functions like those you’d find on a smartphone. Only it all occurs in your field of vision and uses voice commands and eye movements as input.
The obvious benefit here is that it allows you to stay on top of your digital life, without being hunched over your phone or tablet all day long.
In other words, you can actually live again. As the developers of the project say, it “helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment.”
Plus, the “augmented reality” features in the device add a digital layer to the world around you. Meaning it doesn’t just inform you about what’s happening in your general vicinity like a smartphone, it visually feeds you real-time information regarding whatever you’re looking at or paying attention to.
The following video from Google shows what you might expect from the product:
I don’t know about you, but the video makes me geek out each time I see it. So when can you grab a pair for yourself?
Savvy Technology, Not So Appealing Design
The glasses are reportedly being tested by select Google employees. So residents in the Mountain View area shouldn’t be surprised to see a few people sporting a pair over the next few weeks.
As far as consumer-ready versions go, that’s going to take a while longer, as they’re still in the concept stages. And they’re asking for feedback from consumers to see what features we’d like to see in the technology.
My vote: Work on the design.
I mean, I’m a huge fan of the concept behind the technology itself. Since instead of bombarding you with constant information that could be distracting, it gives you immediate, helpful guidance when it’s needed. Like CEO, Larry Page, said on his Google+ page yesterday, “Project Glass – technology that is there when you need it, and out of the way when you don’t.”
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Now, this wouldn’t exactly keep me from using the technology. Same goes for 62% of Gizmodo’s readers who say that they just want a wearable computer no matter what it looks like.
I’m not so sure most non-techie people would agree, however.
The New York Times reports that there are dozens of “shapes and variations of the glasses in the works, some of which can sit over a person’s normal eyeglasses.” But I’m convinced that anything short of making them look just like standard eyeglasses would fail to get mainstream consumers on board.
Of course, packaging the technology in contact lenses would be even better. And it could be possible, considering there’s a bio-nanotechnology specialist working on the project, Babak Parviz, who has already created an electronic contact lens that can be used to display pixels.
But until he can design a way to power the contacts through blinking, I’d say that’s a long way off.
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