Google Offers "Glass Explorer" for Developers Only, Priced at $1,500
June 27, 2012 6:35 PM
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Augmented reality-cum-camera device is demoed in a flashy skydiving and rappelling stunt
Google I/O conference
keynote on Wednesday, Google Inc. (
) showed off its latest results of "Project Glass", which followed the
unveil of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
I. Meet Google Glass
In a flashy stunt, friends of Google co-founder Sergey Brin parachuted onto the roof of the Moscone Center wearing
to chronicle the descent in frightening fashion. Fortunately, they touched down safe and sound, making a grand on-stage entrance.
More Glasses wearing stuntpeople then went on a jump-laden ride across the roof, ending by rappelling down the roof. The whole event was broadcast live to the keynote audience via the Glasses, with multiple views.
Sergey Brin sums up, "That was awesome guys... that was pretty amazing!"
Skydiving to the ground [Image Source: YouTube]
Celebrations on the roof [Image Source: YouTube]
II. From the Lab to the Wild
The augment reality-cum-camera wearable gadgets hatched at
Google's secret Google X Laboratory
, two and a half years ago. Initially prototypes were bulky, but Google eventually shrunk them to fit within a stylish frame, which features a video camera, processor, storage, a microphone, sensors (gyroscope, accelerometer, GPS, etc.), a radio (for transmission of content), and a touch panel for interaction.
Google Glasses: old (left), new (right) [Image Source: YouTube]
Google Glasses lead designer Isabelle Olsson (above right) presented the glasses in their more-stylish present-day form. The display for the glasses is slightly above your eye to be "close to your senses, but not blocking them", she says.
She adds, "Whether it's with family or with friends, we want to empower people to use technology naturally... So, we wanted to pack all this amazing technology into this product to let you do amazing things with it. But that's also a slight conflict, due to that if this is not ridiculously light it does not belong on your face. We didn't only want to make it physically light, but also visually light."
The latest prototype "weighs less on your nose than many sunglasses", Ms. Olsson says.
Google's ultimate goal, according to the engineering team, is to communicate via images and capture important moments in your life. Ms. Olsson says sharing will be "easy and seamless."
One reoccurring theme seemed to be taking pictures of one's baby -- so prepare yourself, Facebook users. Another possible use, Google suggests, is creating powerful visual tutorials via streams of pictures.
The other aim of Glasses is rapid access of information. The glasses can offer you navigation information and local details about your environment. For example a runner/biker could see their speed and a map of where they should turn. In one example, a user even "looked" at a mystery food item to find out what it was.
So want Glasses -- well you're out of luck for now. Google is offering them exclusively to I/O attendees for $1,500 USD. Pre-orders will be taken during the conference and the glasses will ship in early 2013 to U.S. destinations only.
[Image Source: YouTube]
Google plans to later expand the effort beyond the developers later, with a full consumer device, based on its learning experience from the dev version.
The only thing missing from the Google Glass presentation was the obvious unmentioned "alternative" use -- homemade sex tapes.
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How does this thing even work?
6/27/2012 6:54:01 PM
Aren't there focus issues with anything so close to your eyes? I thought this was the problem fighter pilots were facing with helmet HUDS, and those aren't even right on top of your eyes like this. If something so simple can retain focus, why would the military still cling to helmets?
RE: How does this thing even work?
6/27/2012 8:04:12 PM
If you try to actually focus directly on the screen, yes. But if the image on the screen is adjusted so that it appears to be in focus when looking through it, then no.
I imagine that it's comparable to VR helmets and glasses that place two LCD screens right in front of the user's eyes. They're usable because the images are offset appropriately to make them appear to be in focus when your eyes are actually looking out at some point well beyond the physical location of the screens themselves.
RE: How does this thing even work?
6/27/2012 8:12:10 PM
But that doesn't actually work, at least well enough to produce anything but a blurr, which is one of the reasons why they're developing autofocus contact lenses for AR.
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