Augmented reality devices have become increasingly popular in the past few years. This is particularly evident in the 3DS, which gives users the option to use quick response cards to create monsters and other things on the spot. It appears Google is ready to take a stab at augmented reality with Project Glass.
Project Glass appears to be only in the concept and design phase, but this has not stopped Google from releasing a video demonstrating what they hope their augmented reality glasses will achieve. The video featured below shows the glasses in action as a man goes through his everyday paces. The glasses interface with his phone this allows him to take phone calls and respond to text messages with voice commands. The glasses even give him an overlay of a map to a destination he is attempting to get to after alerting him that Subway service for the area had been suspended. The advertisement ends with the glasses allowing him to share video with his girlfriend as the sun sets over the city. These glasses would be designed to work specifically with Android-based phones.
Reaction to the promotional video has been mixed, as some have taken the glasses in a negative light pointing out obvious safety risks of having windows popping up while walking or driving. Others have taken a more comical look at what augmented reality would be like under a Google-run device. You can find one of these parodies below. In general, reaction to the Glass Project has been a little wary, but considering the device is only in the concept and development phase, there is plenty of time for users to warm up to the idea.
While this device is merely a concept at this point, a number of high level Google executives have been seen walking around testing out the devices. One of those seen wearing the device is co-founder Sergey Brin, who was spotted wearing them at a benefit event for The Foundation Fighting Blindness. There are also rumors that Vic Gundotra, an executive at Google, is also walking around testing out a pair of the glasses.
While there appears to be working, testable models of the devices as seen on various executives, they do not appear able to do what was seen in the video. Based on what has been seen walking, it is very unlikely around that the finalized project would provide a full screen augmented reality; instead, it is closer to a small heads up display over one eye, and varying lighting is likely to make reading the translucent text very difficult.
This video and announcement managed to do one thing, though, and that is to stir up interest and controversy over the device. While the video may be setting expectations too high, it does give viewers a glimpse of what may be possible in the future. Many expect them to hit the market later this year sometime costing around $250-$600.