Google’s ‘Project Glass’ Augmented Reality Glasses Are Real And In Testing

After weeks of speculation and rumors, Google has officially pulled back the curtain on what they have come to call Project Glass — a pair of augmented reality glasses that seek to provide users real-time information right in front of their eyes.

“We think technology should work for you — to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don’t,” wrote Babak Parviz, Steve Lee, and Sebastian Thrun, three Google employees who are part of the Google X skunkworks. “We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input.”

Something tells me that they won’t be hurting for feedback.

To call these things glasses may be a bit of a stretch — early rumors noted that glasses bore a striking resemblance to a pair of Oakley Thumps, but the demo images on Project Glass’s Google+ page (one of which can be seen above) don’t look a thing like them. Rather, they appear to be constructed of a solid metal band that runs across the brow line, with a small heads-up display mounted on the right side.

The New York Times‘ Nick Bilton, who broke the Project Glass story today, went on to say that the prototype model seen in the images is just one of the potential designs currently in testing. Among others, one of the potential designs for Project Glass is (thankfully) meant to be attached to a person’s existing pair of glasses.

These demo designs are far more stylish than the original reports made it out to be, but really — who cares about that right now? A brief demo video (below) highlights some of the functionality that the Project Glass specs aspire to provide: the protagonist of the video goes about his daily life aided by the glasses, which displays a circle-based UI that provides real time information like and weather and transit when needed. Further applications include the ability to send messages using your voice, instructing the glasses to take a picture, and displaying the location of nearby friends.

This is terribly, terribly cool stuff, but I’d caution users to take the images and video with a grain of salt for now — not because I don’t think Google will eventually make good on them, but because they represent just one direction that the project could go in. According to Wired, Project Glass is still more of a concept than an actual product, and won’t see an official release for a very long time.

It’s also worth noting that as downright magical as these things could be, there’s still very little insight into how they would actually work. Bilton’s early write-up notes that the glasses will be capable of establishing a 3G or 4G wireless connection, but how exactly Google will shoehorn those components (just to name a few) into a comfortable headset is still up the air.


[via The New York Times]

More From TechCrunch On Google’s Project Glass:

Apple and Facebook Should Be Scared Of Google-Tinted Glasses

Here’s A Funny, More Realistic Look At Google’s Project Glass [Video]