Written by Super User
A while back we started hearing rumors about some kind of secret project Google was working on involving eyeglasses -- smart eyeglasses.
You'd wear them like a normal pair of specs, but they'd somehow be connected to the Web, possibly through the Android phone in your pocket. And the lenses would display all kinds of information -- text and images relating to whatever it is you're looking at.
So if you were standing on a sidewalk downtown, for instance, your vision would be overlayed with info about shops, restaurants, transportation, directions to where you're going, any kind of info you'd otherwise have to find out by messing around with your phone.
Smartphone apps that do that already exist, and the concept is called "augmented reality." But according to the rumors, Google was going to put AR right in your face with a pair of glasses.
It was definitely an intriguing idea. People started calling it "Terminator vision," as in the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. When the films would cut to the robot's point of view, you'd see it scan the environment and analyze everything about every object in the frame. So yeah, that would be kind of cool.
And it turns out the dream is real -- Google has confirmed it's working on such a product, and the project is called "Google Glass." It's posted a video showing what it hopes to achieve with Glass, and it has some top brains in electrical engineering and computer science working on it in Google X Labs, the company's own personal Area 51.
But if the first publicly available Google glasses look anything like the early-stage models the company just showed off, then wearing them might require some aesthetic courage. They'd make quite a fashion statement, to put it nicely. When rumors were first circulating, there seemed to be a presumption that they'd look more or less like actual glasses or sunglasses -- no stranger than a pair of Oakley Thumps, at most.
The actual product, at least in this early stage of development, looks a little more like something belonging to that Jordy guy on "Star Trek TNG." Or maybe that invention from "The Jerk" that made everyone's eyes go crossed.
If Google keeps at it, perhaps years from now the product will look a little more like an inconspicuous pair of eyeglasses. Or maybe a few brave souls will pave the way for everyone else, hang these ridiculous-looking things on their foreheads with true geek pride, and one day make it halfway acceptable to be seen leaving the house wearing a pair.
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