A Key Engineer Reveals Fresh Details About Google’s Plans To Change The World With Glasses

Babak Parviz, Google
Babak Parviz, Google Project Glass engineer

[credit provider=”Sean Smith, NASA” url=”http://www.nasa.gov/centres/langley/news/researchernews/rn_parvizcolloquium.html”]

Babak Parviz, a key engineer on Google’s Project Glass, just revealed some new details about the wearable-computing project in an interview with IEEE Spectrum.Intriguingly, he suggests that the company wants to make money by selling the devices, rather than running ads.

Project Glass is a piece of hardware that wraps a videocamera and computer into a sunglasses-like package, with a display that rests slightly above one eye.

Google showed off the glasses in a skydiving stunt at Google I/O, its annual developers conference, and let developers preorder a test pair for $1,500. Parviz said Google was still working on shipping those early this year, as promised.

Apple has been quietly working on similar technology, which some people think could eventually replace smartphones altogether.

Aside from having employees test the devices and showing them off at a fashion event in September, Google hasn’t said much about the state of the project, so Parviz’s update is pretty interesting.

  • The purpose of Glass is twofold, Parviz said:  to “allow people to connect to others with images and video” for “pictorial communications” and to “allow people to access information very, very quickly.”
  • Augmented reality—where information is overlaid over the physical landscape—”isn’t our immediate goal for Google Glass.” It may come in the future.
  • You may use motion, voice, and touch to control Google Glass: It has “full audio in and audio out” and a touchpad, Parviz notes, and Google has “also experimented with some head gestures.” Google Now, a service which anticipates searches based on contextual information like a scheduled plane flight in a user’s calendar, may also play a role.
  • Google has built email and calendar services specifically for Glass.
  • “No plans for advertising” but Google is “very interested in providing the hardware.”
  • Google is working on allowing Glass wearers to take phone calls. (Which makes sense, since the device looks a bit like an oversized Bluetooth headset.)

Here’s what the headset looks like:

google glass demo design

[credit provider=”Owen Thomas, Business Insider”]

Before joining Google, Parviz did research into putting monitoring devices and displays into contact lenses for medical purposes at the University of Washington.

Read the entire interview on IEEE Spectrum >