According to a New York Times report, Internet giant Google, developer of the Google Search Engine and the Android Operating System will soon be releasing glasses that feature a Heads-Up display, similar to high performance aircraft and automobiles.
According to the report, "soon" could mean as soon as the latter half of 2012. This high-tech headwear will be powered by Google's Android Operating System, feature 4G networking capabilities, and cost between $200 and $700. The glasses will also feature GPS and other sensors, as well as a camera, microphone and voice command capabilities.
For those of you who post everything you do on Facebook or in Twitter Tweets, this is probably the setup for you. But it goes well beyond that.
These glasses seem designed from the ground up to make "Augmented Reality" programs (which overlay a real-time image with additional data such as contact information, photos, etc.) quite a bit more useful.
Augmented Reality (AR for short) programs allow you to do things like locate WIFI hotspots or GPS points that happen to be directly in front of you, or walk into a crowded room, hold up your phone, and get contact information for anyone that has a compatible application. They can also be useful for identifying landmarks, or even for playing video games where enemies are projected wandering around the halls of your home. The downside is that you need to wander around with a phone up to your face, which many people find slightly inconvenient. These glasses aim to solve that by allowing you to constantly have access to that information. They have other potential utilities as well – teleprompters could become a thing of the past, since the text for a speech could simply scroll up the lenses of your glasses. You could also follow a map, or read emails in the same fashion.
Futurists have long predicted that we would start to integrate our computers into our clothing. Smartphones and Bluetooth devices were the tip of the wedge. Accessories such as these glasses could indicate that their prognostications are beginning to come true. And, while this may be a ways off, where there are glasses, contact lenses are sure to follow. While these cybernetic spectacles aren't for everyone, the fact that such devices may be offered commercially by a major company indicates that Augmented Reality technology is reaching maturity. With enough exposure, it could become mainstream, regardless of how farfetched it may seem. Remember: Five years ago, QR codes were considered ‘quaint,' and now it's nearly impossible to walk down the street or open a newspaper without seeing one.