Real Augmented Reality Google Goggles In Prototype Stage?

There have been whispers in the past of augmented reality goggles or glasses, but generally we have been able to dismiss them as exaggerations or concepts. The technology, while it isn’t unrealistic, simply isn’t quite there yet.

Apparently that hasn’t stopped Google: a new report is appearing corroborating earlier ones that they are working on a pair of augmented reality glasses. They’d piggyback on your phone’s connection and overlay information like directions, news, and so on.

Whether you think it’s a good idea or not, this kind of thing is going to come eventually, so it’s natural that Google would want to start girding itself for the approaching augmented glasses wars of 20XX.

The 9 to 5 Google report says they look something like a pair of athletic glasses, with a forward-facing camera and flash. The augmented reality bit is actually not a transparent display over one or both eyes, but a single opaque display on the side of one eyepiece (which eyepiece, and which side, were not specified). You operate it with voice or by moving your head around to navigate or select menu options.

Yes, not exactly the future we were expecting. I guarantee these things don’t look cool, either. But like I said, the technology isn’t there yet: cameras and processors aren’t small or fast enough, batteries can’t provide enough power, displays aren’t built for them, and computer vision isn’t good enough. Some of these things Google can work on, some they can’t. But the best way to have a product ready when the tech is there is to try to build one when the tech isn’t.

The glasses are apparently nowhere near done, unsurprisingly, and Google isn’t sure how to make anything out of them. A pilot program could be in the works, or it could continue to be an underground project, metamorphosing again and again until the market is ready. As it is, these things would be weird, expensive, and not particularly useful. In a couple years, though, who knows?