Google Glass is the name of an augmented reality product developed at Google's secretive research lab, Google X. At first glance, the new device looks like a conventional spectacle frame, but it carries computer chips, a miniature battery and heads-up display (HUD) enabling the wearer to interact with virtual space whilst on the move.
As with the pilot displays of modern aircraft, text and images generated by Google Glass are overlaid on the real world scene so that the user can switch attention instantaneously between the two. Activated by voice, touch or head movements, the 'Goggles' allow interaction with apps, the Internet and social networking sites, communicating all the while via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to the user's mobile.
A tiny camera located just above the eye enables lives video streaming from the user's own viewpoint, giving recorded experiences a stunning immediacy:
Keeping users connected whilst minimally distracting them from real-world tasks, the new Goggles are a step closer to the goal of ubiquitous computing – complete integration of computing into everyday objects and activities – and present a significant challenge to smartphones. But whether they can reduce the present toll of jaywalking accidents and lamppost collisions remains to be seen!
Google Glass is due to hit the shops in late 2013 or early 2014.