In December, rumors spread that Google was finishing up a prototype on high-tech glasses known as wearable head-up displays (HUD) that could tap into Google's cloud-based location services and detail users' surroundings. The information would then appear as an augmented reality computer display.
Over the last year, Apple and Google have secretly begun working on projects that will become wearable computers. Their main goal: to sell more smartphones. (In Google’s case, more smartphones sold means more advertising viewed.)
In Google’s secret Google X labs, researchers are working on peripherals that — when attached to your clothing or body — would communicate information back to an Android smartphone.
People familiar with the work in the lab say Google has hired electronic engineers from Nokia Labs, Apple and engineering universities who specialize in tiny wearable computers.
They are in late prototype stages of wearable glasses that look similar to thick-rimmed glasses that “normal people” wear. However, these provide a display with a heads up computer interface. There are a few buttons on the arms of the glasses, but otherwise, they could be mistaken for normal glasses. Additionally, we are not sure of the technology being employed here, but it is likely a transparent LCD or AMOLED display such as the one demonstrated below:
In addition, we have heard that this device is not an “Android peripheral” as the NYT stated. According to our source, it communicates directly with the Cloud over IP. Although, the “Google Goggles” could use a phone’s Internet connection, through Wi-Fi or a low power Bluetooth 4.0.
The use-case is augmented reality that would tie into Google’s location services. A user can walk around with information popping up and into display -Terminator-style- based on preferences, location and Google’s information.
Our tipster has now seen a prototype and said it looks something like Oakley Thumps (below). These glasses, we heard, have a front-facing camera used to gather information and could aid in augmented reality apps. It will also take pictures. The spied prototype has a flash —perhaps for help at night, or maybe it is just a way to take better photos. The camera is extremely small and likely only a few megapixels.
I/O on the glasses will also include voice input and output, and we are
told the CPU/RAM/storage hardware is near the equivalent of a
generation-old Android smartphone. As a guess, we would speculate
something like 1GHz ARM A8, 256MB RAM and 8GB of storage? In any case,
it will also function as a smartphone.