Google Working on Glass Model for Glasses Wearers

At the Hot Chips conference in Stanford, California, Google Glass lead and founder Babak Parviz said that the team is currently working on a version of the AR specs for customers who already wear glasses. This version will supposedly arrive in a few months.

Parviz went on to discuss the future of the Glass project, indicating that customers will eventually see "different optics" such as contact lenses. In principle, that's a "doable thing" -- Parviz had first-hand experience in putting displays in contact lenses while serving as a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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"It was fun, we went all the way to 1-pixel on a contact lens that worked wirelessly, but even that was quite difficult," Parviz said, adding that Glass-based contact lenses may arrive someday, just not in the immediate future.

He said the team is presently working hard on improving the hardware of the current form factor before it's released to the masses by next summer. They want to maximize the device's performance as it handles the vast amount of data it collects while also lasting an entire day on a single charge. The team is also working to improve the device's interactions with the environment and the human body through optics and photonics.

During his speech Parviz said the Glass team is also working to improve the device's ability to capture video and use some of that content in an augmented reality application. "What we have today is a good solid first step, but not enough especially for video processing. Because the more this platform is successful, we're going to be collecting more video," Parviz said.

Naturally, Parviz talked about the privacy issues surrounding Glass, saying that it will take society a while to figure out the new technology. The situation is similar to the reaction caused by the very first camera in the late 1800s; everyone was scared that someone would violate their privacy by randomly taking pictures of them on the street. Now we have cameras built into our phones, tablets and even laptops.

The speech also talked about the promise of Google Glass as a possible successor to the smartphone as a source of information and communication. It's a hands-free experience with an overlay that provides data on what appears to be a large screen in front of the user's face. Of course, Glass will co-exist with smartphones and tablets, but Parviz believes the newer tech will likely take over smartphones just as mobile devices pulled consumers away from desktops and land-based phones.

"It's not to say the smartphones aren't good, but there are certain things definitely unique to this platform that smartphones will not be able to do," Parviz said.

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