Wednesday morning Google unveiled its “Project Glass,” augmented reality glasses that will be able to display chats, maps and more. While wearing a pair, you can see directions to your destination appear literally before your eyes. You can talk to friends over video chat, take a photo or even buy a few things online as you walk around. A prototype is being tweaked and tested in public by the company’s employees before it goes on sale. The technology is known as ‘wearable computing’ and is expected to launch a new generation of gadgets which display a layer of information over everything the wearer sees – bringing together the search engine, GPS tracking, a phone and a camera.
Google is doing its best to give the glasses some fashion appeal by featuring rejected Gap models in its promo shots, but they still seem too obtrusive for most consumers. Google is also exploring different designs for the glasses, including some that could fit over your existing glasses, reports the New York Times.
While it may seem like the glasses will add yet another layer of digital distraction to our lives, Google employees say it will actually do the opposite. One person testing the glasses told the NYT: “They let technology get out of your way. If I want to take a picture I don’t have to reach into my pocket and take out my phone; I just press a button at the top of the glasses and that’s it.”
What is I like about Project Glass is that although it does seem a long way off and futuristic, it’s by no means beyond the realms of possibility. Like how the smartphone has come a long way from its brickier roots, the glasses would become as much a fashion accessory as a necessity, with sleeker designs which could eventually render them indistinguishable from your everyday, Steve Jobs spectacles.