Krypton Radio Newswire
Google's GLASS heads up display augmented reality "glasses".

Google's GLASS heads up display augmented reality "glasses". Well, 'glass' really, as it feeds just one eye. We think it's going to require 3G/4G to make it work, so they'll probably have to pack complete cell phone functionality into it too and sell it through wireless carriers.

We’ve seen augmented reality in movies and on television for years – the technologically enhanced hero or villain looks at something and we see the world through their eyes – overlaid with a computer display that gives the character (and us) a greatly enhanced view of the world. Iron Man’s helmet is a classic example. Watching Robert Downey Jr’s face light up with the reflections of blue graphics from inside that helmet conveys like nothing else how much power and control he has over the flow of information when he’s in that suit.

We’ve come to accept the fact that we want this for ourselves, and within the past three years there has been an explosion of virtual reality applications on our smart phones, downloadable often for no cost, that do the same sort of thing. Not as cool, not as slick, and not as powerful, sadly. Mostly it’s limited to restaurants or gas stations visible from whatever direction we happen to point our phones in – and, we have to hold up the phone in one hand while trying to manipulate it with the other, and most phones are useless in full sunlight. You can’t see a thing on the screen.

Google cofounder Sergey Brin sporting the Google Glass prototype

Google cofounder Sergey Brin sporting the Google Glass prototype - but he was wearing a backpack at the charity event where the photo was taken, indicating that the device may be suffering from the same problem nearly all mobile devices do: battery life. Photo credit Robert Scoble

Last February we reported that Google was working on a pair of glasses that would fix all these problems, and we theorized that they’d look like a fancy pair of MP3 player sport glasses. Google has just given the world a first peek at what it’s really going to look like, and we’re happy to report that you can have super vision without having to look like Clark Kent in the process. The Google “Glass” headgear more closely resembles something from Star Trek, and uses a prism to feed the heads-up display into one eye so that you see an overlay of information. The video we present here is from Google too, showing what the experience might be like. But we’re going to have to wait as consumers to see this thing for ourselves. A Google representative commented that seeing this thing on the market by the end of 2012 was “extremely unlikely”.  However, last night tech mavin Robert Scoble tweeted that he’d seen Google cofounder Sergey Brin wearing the prototype, and that from what he could see it was clearly feeding him information.  So the release might be a lot closer than Google’s letting on – but if there was a wire going from his glasses to that backpack he was wearing, it indicates a problem of battery life. The number one power-consuming item on any smart phone is the display, and we imagine this Google Glass eyewear won’t be much different. This gives Google a fairly significant technical challenge to overcome before this thing hits the market. Nobody’s going to want to stuff a wire down their shirt or blouse to make this thing work.

Google is still working on the concept, really. It’s coming out of the Google experimental labs, and as is the case with many things they think up, they came up with the idea and then started digging around to see what they could make it do and what it might be used for. When the product is finally released (we at Krypton Radio anticipate this will happen the first or second quarter of 2013), it will cost about the same as a smart phone or tablet device. The design is already far less clunky than we had previously supposed. If they can make it so that it doesn’t clutter up a person’s face, we think they’ll sell a lot more of them.

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