The first prototype for Google Glass was built in 90 minutes and weighed 3.5 kilograms – a far cry from the highly anticipated device expected to reach the market next year.
Google chief evangelist Gopi Kallayil told this week’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco that Glass exemplified the search giant’s approach to innovation.
The Glass project was driven by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who “sits with the team that develops Google Glass, works with them and tests every single version of it”, Kallayil said.
Here’s what happened:
When [Brin] first came up with the idea of wearable computing, he sat with a team of Google engineers who he felt could pull this together.
Google’s belief is that fast is better than slow … The first prototype took 90 minutes. It was something as simple as ‘let’s test this concept out’.
So it looked like this: A regular laptop computer, like the one you’d carry in your hands, put in a Google backpack that you can buy from the Google store, with wires protruding out of it, mounted on ski goggles, then you can buy off-the-shelf components like still cameras, video cameras, and sticky tape that you get from the supplies cabinet.
It worked, but it looked ugly and weighed 3500 grams.
For the next version, a couple of days later, we thought we didn’t need all the computing power of a laptop in a backpack so we took a smartphone and taped it to the ski goggles. That was much lighter.
So we kept iterating like that and within 6-8 months, we got it down to about 450 grams and another 6-8 months, we got to this [current] version that weighs about 75 grams.
This weighs less than a pair of commercial Ray Ban glasses but within it resides enough computational logic to listen to your input, take pictures, record videos, communicate with the internet and display results.
Google released a version of Glass to developers earlier this year for $1,500 each. A commercial product is expected to launch next year.