Google to introduce augmented reality glasses

Always checking your smartphone for random bits of information like weather updates, quick directions or store hours? It looks as if by the end of the year, you will have another option for receiving such information: your glasses.

According to several Google employees familiar with the glasses project, the glasses will cost about as much as a smartphone, anywhere from $250 to $650. Those familiar with the glasses said they will be Android-based and feature a small screen that will sit about three inches from a person’s eye. The design is said to be similar to that of Oakley Thumps.

Able to function on a 3 or 4G connection, the glasses also include a number of sensors including motions and GPS.

Seth Weintraub, a blogger for 9 to 5 Google, blogged that currently the navigation system is controlled by head movements.

“The navigation system currently used is a head tilting to scroll and click,” Mr. Weintraub wrote this month. “We are told it is very quick to learn and once the user is adept at navigation, it becomes second nature and almost indistinguishable to outside users.”

So what does this mean in the world of assistive technology? The possibilites could be great.

The glasses would be useful for those with cognitive disabilities and those in the senior citizen community because of the navigation system. If the user could not remember their way home, how to get to class or how to get to the grocery store, these glasse have the potential to help.

The glasses will have a low-resolution built-in camera that is capable of monitoring the world in real time and overlay information about the surroundings, including buildings and friends that might be nearby.

The glasses are not meant to be worn constantly. The idea is to use them only on an as needed basis.

Currently being developed in GoogleX laboratories, the glasses will be able to connect with other Google software products that are available and in use today, but will display the information in an augmented reality format rather than the traditional Web browser.

According to Nick Bilton at The New York Times, Google has no business model for the glasses yet, rather viewing their creation as an experiment anyone can join.

Who knows, if the public takes to the glasses, perhaps Google will introduce these rugged specs to the market.

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