Right now Google Glass doesn’t really look anything like a regular pair of eyeglasses, but that could all change in the future.
The company was recently granted a patent for a new design that’s much sleeker than the current model and resembles a standard pair of glasses.
Google has been trying to push Glass as a fashion accessory since it unveiled the device in 2012, but a more natural design like this could make it easier for consumers to adopt the product.
The drawings included in the patent (via 9to5Google) show a pair of smart glasses with a smaller glass prism that’s closer to your eyes than the one in today’s version of Google Glass.
This glass prism serves as a miniature projector that displays images and text in the top corner of your right eye. In the patent’s sketches, this prism appears to be a bit smaller and more discrete.
The wearable display shown in Google’s patent is a noticeable improvement that could make wearable computing more natural, but it’s still slightly bulkier than regular glasses. If you take a closer look at the side of the device, you’ll notice that they’re much thicker than normal glasses. That’s likely because Google would need to pack all the computing components, such as the processor and memory, in this area.
While Google may be working on new solutions and designs of its own, other tech companies are developing technology that could make augmented reality fit even more seamlessly into your glasses. Vuzix and Nokia’s Waveguide lens, for example, looks almost exactly like a regular lens you’d see in today’s eyeglasses, but it’s capable of displaying full colour 720p images in the corner of your eye.
We haven’t seen them in any consumer products yet, but Vuzix is already using Waveguide for V2000AR glasses for industrial workers.
In the near future, wearable displays could seem as normal as wearing a pair of sunglasses. In a previous interview with Business Insider, Soulaiman Itani, co-founder and Chief Scientist at Atheer Labs, said these types of devices may only be three or four years away.
There’s no telling if we’ll ever see a version of Google Glass that looks like this since it’s just a patent, but it’s still interesting to see what Google is experimenting with.
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