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back to article Google shows off Project Glass augmented reality specs

Google has been showing off the expected capabilities of the augmented reality spectacles that it is calling Project Glass. The early concept designs show wire-framed glasses with a display above the right eye which shows off personal schedules and location-based information. Also included is a camera, a microphone for calls and …

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Processing power?

Apple's Siri (and several other imitators) work by shifting the voice processing off to the "cloud," meaning that your device just needs wifi/cellular to work. Of course, even with all the seemingly supernatural capabilities of the "cloud" (if the marketing folks are to be believed), my Android phone using Google's voice recognition services only gets it right about 25% of the time, often with comedic results.

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Anonymous Coward

I can see the idiots wearing them while driving.

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Go

Re: Processing power?

Yes, Siri shifts much of the work off your handheld and onto Apple, but let's not forget that even so the present Jesus mobe has a secondary processor just for cleaning up and compressing your voice and that Apple can't supply enough power on the server side to give you proper answers. So we're still going to need significant power in your eyeglasses.

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Linux

Re: Processing power?

"Yes, Siri shifts much of the work off your handheld and onto Apple, but let's not forget that even so the present Jesus mobe has a secondary processor just for cleaning up and compressing your voice and that Apple can't supply enough power on the server side to give you proper answers. So we're still going to need significant power in your eyeglasses."

Google's handsets and servers aren't nearly so woefully underpowered as Apple's, though.

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Facepalm

Yeah, just what I was thinking! How many crashes in ten years time will ascribed to Twitter notifications?

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Call 999 (or 911)

Yes. And they won't be able to see you as they'll be concentrating on the display and not the road. The ambulance chasers will be going after Google rather than the driver.

BTW - wasn't this sort of thing in William Gibson's Virtual Light? (And probably many others before him.)

Colin

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Anonymous Coward

Depends...

The point of augmented vision isn't to have something that looks like a Tomtom floating in your field of vision. The route indicator would be laid out on the road. Signposts would appear indicating your route.

Likewise twitter: if you're the sort of idiot who must read their SMS, etc the instant it appears, it's far better that you're reading some large text hovering over the road a couple of hundred metres away (eg motorway road signs) than changing your focus to a small screen inside your windscreen.

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There's a possible application for this sort of thing there - linked to the vehicle's computer you could have info and warnings displayed so you couldn't ignore them.

Of course Google think cars will drive themselves eventually so the whole windscreen might as well be showing porn whatever the former driver would want to see.

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Alien

Yes please!

I seriously dream of augmented reality vision. My wife thinks it's creepy but I'd seriously go whole hog and have "chipped" vision (c.f. Altered Carbon) with seamless audio and video integration to my perception. Imaging having a built in HUD that could play movies, scroll interesting facts about what you were looking at, highlight the right road to turn into, bring up the names of people you bump into, thus avoiding awkward moments where it becomes clear you've forgotten who they are.

Would seriously alter society though - for example a guy who remembers who everyone is can no longer stand out as a thoughtful and caring chap who knows his secretary's sister has a cat that just went to the vet because for all you know he could just be reading that off his implant. And the importance of learning information would be reduced if it could be called up at will (how do you stop someone cheating in an exam with the capability and, if they'll have the capability in their daily life, is it relevant to devise an exam that doesn't allow it?).

Big problem would be security (hello very irritating spam!) and bugs...

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Re: Yes please!

No fucking way would I get the "chipped" version. Can you imagine Anonymous sending 2 girls 1 cup at you every waking moment?

I'm definitely up for a serious and fairly unobtrusive HUD; but I'd want it disconnected from all the advertising shit first.

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Meh

Re: Yes please!

Your wife should divorce you now.

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Re: Yes please!

"My wife thinks it's creepy but I'd seriously go whole hog and have "chipped" vision (c.f. Altered Carbon) with seamless audio and video integration to my perception."

Apple's next product: The eyePhone.

(NB: credit must be attributed to Futurama for this one)

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Sinister

Well, it might have been Dexter, actually who had the Fony Headcase surgically implanted ER system.

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Trollface

When he went into the bookshop and looked at the book, it missed out the part where an Amazon ad pops up offering it for half the price.

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I was honestly expecting that to happen, or at the very least, a pop up from Google Shopping showing a price comparison.

Does anyone else feel a little icky after watching that corny video?

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Exactly what I was waiting for too. Also when the subway service was suspended the HUD should have displayed 'WALK YOU LAZY BASTARD".

Finally, at the end when he says 'want to see something cool?', I was really hoping that he was going to throw himself off of the roof of the building and the last shot would be the rapidly approaching ground.

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Anonymous Coward

Too True I'm afraid

First news I saw for this was on Bloomberg, one of the industry commentators in the article was really excited about the potential for advertising and monetisation....you have been warned

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'Finally, at the end when he says 'want to see something cool?', I was really hoping that he was going to throw himself off of the roof of the building and the last shot would be the rapidly approaching ground.'

LOL

Very 'Strange Days'

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Snuff ending disappointment

So glad that wasn't just me... :)

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Throw in some true augumented reality capabilities and we could do virtual graffiti on real walls and buildings - now that could get interesting walking down high streets and seeing user reviews and comments virtually plastered on the walls & windows of the shops.

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Google Asks "What do I want?"

I answer:

An iron-clad, lawyer- and loop-hole proof guarantee in the usage agreement, local/state law and federal law - up to and possibly including a Constitutional Ammendment - stating that individuals, companies and governments are not allowed to track me or spy on me through these or other similiar devices in any way, shape or form without my prior opt-in consent, as well as an indipendent, sure-fire way of checking on a regular basis to make *sure* they're not, preferably a method I and anyone else can perform at home without outside help.

Also, decent battery life and light weight.

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Meh

Re: Google Asks "What do I want?"

Regrettably I don't think we'll ever get that. Aside from the fact that the interested parties funding the development of these toys are very interested in tracking your every action, the device of our dreams would need to do a lot of tracking of our behaviours to do what we want it to. We want a pocket device that sorts out what we tell it to as good as a human assistant for 90% of tasks, and to emulate human performance it would need to track damn near everything. Look at the issues with Siri.

You want it to remember context? That means logging your conversations, at least short term.

You want it to understand you? That means building up a profile of regional accents and your own voice.

A compromise between having a device that logs everything about you and a device that knows enough about you to be useful will need to be reached, unfortunately the companies with the big bucks are likely to always push one end of that compromise more heavily.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google Asks "What do I want?"

I don't want any of those things, it sounds awful.

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Boffin

Re: Google Asks "What do I want?"

If only we had portable computers with multi gigahertz CPUs and tens of gigabytes of memory.

If only we could rent server space.

Oh wait, we can. But SaaS makes the company control software, not the user so we won't get the actual applications to our "hands".

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Am thinking of it more as...

basically a close range wireless system which has a screen and battery in glasses frame, which sends all the grunt work to the Android phone in the users pocket which is providing all the processor, connectivity and storage....an add on for the next Nexus maybe and Jelly Bean?

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No Duh!

"While these kinds of heads-up displays are popular in films and fiction (and dearly wanted by this hack), the poor sales of existing eye-level screens suggests a certain reluctance on the part of buyers."

The crap resolution on these early devices are severely limiting the kinds of apps that will truly revolutionize mobile interaction. Once we get 720p or higher, then a whole slew of possibilities opens up. Also, a solid, uncompressed, low-energy, short-range WirelessHD standard needs to emerge for this very purpose.

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Re: No Duh!

And the apps will sell it - dashboard computers weren't something I remember being tremendously popular before Tom Tom et al gave us something more useful than a spreadsheet to look at.

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Coat

Nausea

I got nauseous just by looking at YT clip.

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Worrying ...

Thing is ... Will this make us better humans. I Doubt it. Given time thid would happen.

Our humanity is already being sucked out of us by smartphones.

Just sit on public transport any given day and you'll know what I mean.

I feel depressed for the future.

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Stop

Re: Worrying ...

I did and I don't know what you mean...

I remember before smartphones were widely available and popular - 99.9% of everyone on public transport sat/stood/hung there staring off miserably into space trying to pretend no-one else existed, except for the danger they might represent.

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Re: Worrying ...

Agree, Atonnis - I don't think we were better humans when we were hiding in trees at night worrying about what might be out in the dark and I don't think any of our inventions since has worsened us.

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Anonymous Coward

Finally!

Porn and Viagra ads everywhere I look!

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Joke

Re: Finally!

Imagine these tuned for sex... "Lat: 22.5453N; Long: 36.4255 W; Alt: 4,500 Hdg: 225; Spd: 475; Thrust: 2.5 G-Forces Per Cycle; PenetAngle: Unk/Indet; Gyrat:2.5kps; Durat: 2.5s; Nutat: 225 kN; AmbSnd: 27.8 dB; Humid: 68.7%; Own HeartRt: 148BPM; MateHeartRt: 179.33 BPM; Knock Factor: Indet; Orientat: F-t-F; Syncopat: Unconvent...

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Anonymous Coward

So where's the battery?

Or is his ridiculous hairstyle some kind of new fangled wave power generator?

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Short version; I don't like it.

It looks doable, well, there would be a wire running from the glasses to a smartphone, and a wire running from the smartphone to a honking great battery pack, but it's just as doable now as its been for the last decade.

I'm just not sold on the idea though, I think if my input is going to be spoken I'd rather have audio cues, "message from Tom", "turn right at the next junction" etc than have to wear a clunky headset, I suppose I'm more drawn to the idea of a personal PA that doesnt speak until spoken to than the visual shotgun approach demoed here, I'm thinking that even though road signs are enormous great things it still takes a concentrated mental effort to decipher them when I'm speeding down the motorway whereas the voice from a satnav is effortless.

I can imagine groups of people staring into space, grunting their answers to unheard questions, the tippy tap of fingers on buttons and screens replaced with short bursts of random speech, is this progress? Do we do what we must because we can?

But mostly I'm thinking supplying an advertising company with a real time feed of where we are, who we're talking to and what we're looking at seems like a really bad deal even if they paid us to wear them.

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I'll believe it when I see it

How many of these concept videos do we see. It's a shame the concept very rarely makes it into reality, and when they do they are usually so far removed from what we expected from the concept video it makes you wonder why they bothered with the concept video in the first place. To put it another way.. I won't hold my breath.

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Megaphone

Re: I'll believe it when I see it

Reminds one of another company, holding a somewhat analogous position during the last years of the last century. I remember Microsoft showing off 'prototypes' that would wow reviewers, even though, just by looking at it, you'd know it simply couldn't be built.

Furthermore, I see this as evidence that Google has now well and truly been taken over by the engineers' hive-mind; even if they could bring something like this to market, and even if it would catch on, the ramifications for society would be staggering. Already people are becoming less social in the real world, but at least they're still forced to interact with it. With devices such as these, the necessity to interact with other people falls rapidly to nill.

As this is a prototype, the features involved are of the mundane Google variety. But imagine having a holographic assistant, telling you where to go, what's going on, helping you find the things (she tells you) you need. Imagine Siri, but with the holographically projected body of a slim, 19yo Chinese woman that knows all your needs and desires, better even than your parents or pet-hamster. How boring would conversation be to a person like that if the other person needs to 'download' the 'conversational parameters' i.e. possess a working knowledge of who you are and what you do, before anything of interest could be addressed.

Remember the old Futurama slogan: "Don't have sex with robots!" True in the future, true now.

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Anonymous Coward

Don't . . .

Oh, you've just not met the right robot.

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FAIL

et tu Google

Is it at all possible that the sensory enhancement of beautiful women has not been a recurrent theme in my adult life ? Let me put it another way ... the ugly like 'em dumber than a brick. Thanks Google.

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WTF?

Re: et tu Google

Eh?

Is there yet another way you can put it, at all? A way that makes some kind of sense?

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Pint

Re: et tu Google

My dream girl has lousy vision, and I think mine is perfect. On Planet Google, we're both ugly.

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Terminator

Why stop at glasses?

I'll skip on this for the day interface devices that allows one to interface his/her brain with a computer appears. This not only allows the user to have glassless HUD, but also listen to music without headphones.

Terminator. Because computer-assisted driving using the victim's hands is the next logical step from there.

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Coat

Perfect output device...

... for the "girls around me" app??

Make mine a trenchcoat.

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Explore?

Oh dear. They won't help me explore my world, but they'll certainly help google explore my world.

No thanks

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FAIL

yawn..

can you say virtual light?

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Early adopters...

...you can always see 'em coming.

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Re: Early adopters...

You can see them, but they can't see you...their glasses just blue screened or are full of google ads.

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Re: Early adopters...

Reckon they'll be made by Joo Janta, then?

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Weight problems?

Needs a hat for all the electronics and battery. Maybe one with a propeller on top. That would be "hilarious".

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Screw glasses I want a piece that looks like a DragonBall Z scouter that can hook into my tablet/netbook so I can use it while its tucked away (don't care if its wired)

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