Tech companies seem determined to make smart glasses work.
Amazon is the latest firm to try to build its own smart spectacles, secretly working on a pair of glasses which lets you summon Alexa while wearing them, according to The Financial Times.
The glasses would need to be wirelessly connected to a smartphone to work, and apparently look like normal spectacles. That’s a change from Google Glass, which never took off with consumers in part because they looked so unappealing.
Amazon’s device uses bone conduction so that wearers can hear Alexa clearly, according to the report. And they could be released by the end of this year.
Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Moving Alexa to smart glasses would untether Amazon’s smart assistant, which has largely been limited to the home. You can talk to Alexa on Amazon’s Echo speakers, or smart fridges, lamps, and other home items. The assistant has thousands of “skills”, with users able to call on Alexa to play music through their Echo speaker, make new Amazon orders, or tell them the weather.
Alexa is available on Android and iPhone, but is embedded inside Amazon’s shopping app. Anyone using Alexa on mobile would need to ignore Apple and Google’s own smart assistants, then open the Amazon app. That doesn’t make a lot of sense for most people, unless they’re hardcore Alexa fans.
Amazon is developing the device inside a secretive experimental arm called Lab126, according to The Financial Times. The firm has hired Babak Parviz, a key creator of Google Glass, as part of the project plus several other Glass designers and engineers.