Google’s Project Glass and other head-mounted displays


In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, Google announced Project Glass, a real life head-mounted computer that’s actually useful. Glass is one of the projects being developed by Google X, the super-cool R&D department inside Google. On board are [Babak Parviz], [Steve Lee] and [Sebastian Thrun] (a.k.a. the guy you learned AI from last year).

Apart from an awesome video put up by the Google Glass team, there’s not much to go on. No hardware descriptions apart from concept pics, and nothing about software, the speech input, or even a complete list of features. Until that info is finalized it’s up to all the makers, hackers, and builders out there to figure out how to use a head-mounted display in public without getting strange looks. Here’s a few wearable computers and head mounted displays we’ve seen over the years:


DIY Monocular displays

The first one comes from 2009, when all images on Hack a Day were black and white, with little bits of tape around the edge. [Xenonjon] had an old Olympus Eye-Trek and used half of it to make a monocular display. Eye-Treks maxed out at VGA resolution; enough for something an inch from your eye, but good luck finding one used.

We hope Project Glass will allow a little bit of extrasensory perception like Predator’s heat vision or [Geordi LaForge]‘s VISOR capable of seeing the electromagnetic spectrum from 1 Hz to 100,000 THz (The Masterpiece SocietyS05E13, and probably impossible even with TNG tech). Seeing in the dark has already been accomplished with a camcorder CRT, a low light security camera, and a bunch of IR LEDs.

Extremely portable computing

Part of the challenge behind Google Glass is making computers nearly invisible. Cell phones are small, but even the smallest is much to bulky to wear on your face all day. The big hardware manufactures have a leg up on us normal folk, but that didn’t stop [Brad] from making an HUD for real-life capture the flag games.

Since you’ll be wearing a computer all the time, it only makes sense that you could capture a bunch of biometric data all the time. Heart rate, glucose and hormone levels, blood alcohol content, and even EEG readings. It’s been done and it generated a huge amount of data. We can’t wait to max out our cell data caps in the first 10 minutes of the month.

That’s a short list of what may be possible in 10 years with the commoditized hardware Google and others may be putting out. We’re sure we’ll see some interesting uses for these portable computers, and hopefully we’ll be around to show them to you.

Check out the Project Glass video and all the other title pics we could have used for this post below.


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