Science

A vision of the future? Google reveals augmented reality glasses

David Mason

Google’s latest high-tech reveal comes in the form of ‘Project Glass’, the development of augmented reality glasses that project information onto a small screen to be visible floating in the user’s field of vision. 

The project was officially revealed on April 4, following rumours and speculation among the online community from apparent leaked images of the design.

The reveal video follows a user through an average day and boasts a series of impressive functions that are available. Primarily voice activated, the video suggests users are able to set reminders, send messages and even determine the location of friends if they choose to share it, all whilst on the go and without any form of mouse click or finger tap.

It is also implied that the glasses rely on the user’s vision as an input, including displaying information on subway closure as the subway sign is viewed.

Though Google has not released full design features or specifications yet, the reveal video suggests the glasses will have a built in camera for picture and video, GPS navigation and a 3G or 4G data connection.

It has been speculated that the product will cost little more than current top-end smartphones, although the project is still in testing stages. In line with Google’s statement that ‘technology should work for you’, the current design of Project Glass focuses on being as unobtrusive as possible.

While this sort of technological advancement is seen by some as an obvious step forward, many have raised concerns over the practicality of augmented reality in everyday life. Already, the online community have produced several parody videos for the release, highlighting potential problems, not necessarily with the idea, but with the users. Ranging from people being distracted by unwanted pop-ups while walking, to people potentially using the glasses while driving, these parodies highlight the fact that augmented reality is simply something people are not used to.

In a world where mobile phones use is still a major driving hazard, the risk of distraction and vision obstruction from Project Glass could pose a major risk whilst driving.

Ultimately, this technology may prove to be a significant technological advancement, among those who can make sensible use of it. Project Glass is expected to go on sale later this year, after being publicly tested by Google employees in the coming months.

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