Google Project Glass unveiled - head-mounted smartphone

Android-powered device a mid-budget reality

5 Apr 2012
Google Project Glass

Google has officially confirmed that it is working on developing augmented reality glasses, under the name Project Glass. While the rumour spread of a wearable computing project in Google's X research and development arm in December last year, the project hadn't received confirmation as to its existence - until now.

Working under the name Project Glass, a team within Google X is developing a wearable computing system based on the Android mobile platform to free users from traditional smartphones.

In a video demonstrating the technology, the head-mounted system is shown accessing calendar information, receiving and replying to incoming messages, using Google Maps navigation, finding the location of a friend via Google Latitude, taking photos for instant sharing on social networking services, streaming music and even making and receiving phone calls in the place of a traditional hand-held mobile.

The hardware itself provides a small display which sits just above one eye, providing at-a-glance information without blocking the view of the user. This is in contrast to rival designs, including that of Sensics' SmartGoggles, which cover the eyes completely and use in-built cameras to recreate the missing view.

One thing Google isn't saying is when the technology will be mature enough to reach retail channels, although the R&D team is far along enough in its work to estimate the cost of the device at between $250 and $600 (around £157 to £377 excluding tax,) making it no more expensive than a mid-range smartphone.

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