June 28, 2012
Google Will Make Project Glass Prototypes Available To Developers
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
The device, known as Project Glass, is scheduled to ship to a select group of people -- namely, those currently attending Google I/O, the company's annual conference for computer programmers in San Francisco -- for a price of $1,500, according to the Associated Press (AP) and CNET's Stephen Shankland.
The "Explorer Edition" of the unit will ship early next year and will not be made available to anyone outside of those attending the three-day event, which started Wednesday. The offer is only being presented to residents of the United States due to the varying international regulations regarding radio-frequency emissions, Shankland added.
"This is a really new technology, and we want you to help shape it. That's why we want to get it out into the hands of passionate people as soon as possible," Google co-founder Sergey Brin told conference attendees, according to Andres Jauregui of the Huffington Post.
According to the AP, the glasses will enable users to talk with friends over video chat, get directions to a specific location presented directly in from of your eyes, and much more. Project Glass has been in development for more than 24 months, and project engineer Isabelle Olsson told the wire service that the company created the unit in order to allow users to interact with the virtual world without needing to withdraw completely from the real one.
"The glasses, now as light as regular sunglasses, come with a touch panel on the side, a button on top to take photos and videos, and a transparent screen to show information," Shankland said. "They perch just above a person's regular vision so they don't interfere with ordinary eye contact. Google believes they're better for capturing a first-person view of the world, such as spontaneous photographs people would miss if they had to take time to dig out a camera“¦ The ambition is much bolder, though: in effect, an augmented brain."
"Someday we would like to make this so fast that you don't feel like, if you have a question, you have to go seek the [answer]. We'd like it to be so fast that you just know it. We'd like to be able to empower people to know information very, very quickly," one of the project engineers told CNET.
In order to demonstrate the units, Google pulled out all the stops, having a crew of skydivers wearing Project Glass devices jumping out of a zeppelin airship hovering some 4,000 feet over the Moscone Convention Center on Wednesday, Jessica Guynn of the Los Angeles Times reported.
After they jumped, video from their glasses was transmitted to the conference audience, and following in their wake were bicyclists and a rappelling climber, all of whom used the devices to demonstrate their effectiveness before finally handing a set of glasses to Brin, who was on stage to begin his presentation.
"Google says the demonstration started as a suggestion in a meeting filled with PhDs and computer scientists about six weeks ago. The idea was to test the limits of the Glass technology. The biggest challenge: connectivity. At one point, Google experimented with taping a Galaxy Nexus to a wok to send out a signal," Guynn wrote. "The stunt was a huge plug for the experimental glasses (made by a team overseen by Brin)."
"It did what it was supposed to do: It woke everyone up and got them engaged," Opus Research analyst Greg Sterling told the Times. "This creates a certain amount of excitement around the brand and pushes the idea that Google is on the cutting edge of computing."