April 15, 2012
Are Apple, Valve Collaborating On Wearable Computing Technology?
A key member of American video game software development team Valve has confirmed that the company is researching wearable computing technology -- and Apple may be involved, according to various reports.
On Saturday, the Half-Life and Portal series developer confirmed that, like Google and Nokia, they were exploring hardware and software that can be worn, according to reports by Chris Davies of Slashgear.
The research into the wearable computing technology was announced in an April 13 blog post by Valve Managing Director Michael Abrash, who clarified that what he was referring to was "mobile computing where both computer-generated graphics and the real world are seamlessly overlaid in your view; there is no separate display that you hold in your hands (think Terminator vision)."
He calls wearable computing that a person can always have with them "the logical endpoint" of computing, and the eventual successor to the current generation of laptops, notebooks and tablets. He had that he had "no doubt" that in no more than two decades time, wearable computing "will be standard, probably through glasses or contacts, but for all I know through some kind of more direct neural connection."
In fact, according to Davies, Abrash has said that such technology could be available in as little as three to five years' time, due to improvements in processing power and input/output technology in recent years. According to Slashgear, he isn't the only one who feels that way, as wearable component manufacturer Lumus Optical has reported that devices such as the ones described by Abrash could hit store shelves as early as next year.
Valve may not be alone in the development of the wearable technology, as Daniel Eran Dilger reported Friday that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook had visited the company's Bellevue, Washington headquarters. That has fueled some speculation that the two companies could be collaborating on an answer to Google's "Project Glass" augmented reality headgear.
According to Forbes Contributor Dave Their, there are many possible reasons for Cook's visit to Valve HQ: "It´s possible he just needed directions. It´s possible he had to use the bathroom. It´s much more likely he was cooperating with Valve on new game-related projects." However, Their admits that it's possible that the two could be teaming up to create a device to challenge Google's AR glasses.
"This is all speculation, and Abrash makes it very clear that what he´s talking about is R&D -- Valve isn´t unveiling glasses anytime soon," he added. "But Valve has what appears to be a friendly relationship with the most successful gadget manufacturer in the world. When it comes time to actually roll out any wearable computing concepts, that relationship could become a powerful alliance."