Video, audio, and magic headphones: Google glasses come into focus


Los Angeles

Last month, Google co-founder Sergey Brin was photographed on the New York subway, sporting what appeared to be a pair of extremely expensive shades.

Now, new details of the eagerly awaited “Google Glass” device have emerged in a test report published by a US regulator. The web search giant’s latest hardware project is an augmented reality headset, which, according to the test report by the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC), plays video and audio to the wearer, and includes a “vibrating element”.

This matches up with what is already known about the prototype, which features a tiny screen to display computer data. The tech news site Engadget uncovered the FCC papers, including a recent patent application for a “Wearable Computing Device with Indirect Bone-Conduction Speaker”. The technology, which has previously been used in hearing aids, uses a vibrating part to direct sound to the user’s inner ear through their skull.

Mr Brin, 39, who runs the secretive “Google X” development group, has also been spotted wearing the hi-tech specs around San Francisco. He demonstrated an early iteration of Google Glass at a conference in May 2012, where the audience was treated to a live feed from the glasses’ built-in miniature camera, worn by members of a skydiving team in freefall.

When the headset is connected to a wireless network, it can overlay augmented reality information about the wearer’s surroundings, culled from Google search and location data, on to their view. It can also capture video and photos and instantly share them online. According to the FCC papers, the device can store video files and be recharged with a power cable that attaches to the right-hand arm of the spectacle frame. Mr Brin has admitted its battery life is a work in progress.

The $1,500 device is expected to be delivered to software developers sometime this year, and Google has already begun to host “hackathons” in New York and San Francisco, for those developers to brainstorm new and exciting applications for Glass. The firm has said it hopes to make the device available to the public by the end of 2014.

By then, there are likely to be a number of comparable products on the market. At the annual Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas last month, tech firm Vuzix demonstrated its M100 headset, which places a tiny monitor in front of the user’s right eye, and can be controlled by a smartphone via Bluetooth. At least two other small firms, TTP and Explore Engage, have announced plans for rival devices, while Oakley recently launched its digitally enhanced Airwave ski goggles.

In May 2011, Microsoft also applied for a patent for digital glasses that can display augmented reality data, such as baseball statistics to a fan watching a live game. Meanwhile, Motorola Solutions is poised to release its HC1 head-mounted, voice-activated computer; a bulkier device than Google’s, it is intended for use in specialist working environments where its potential users – builders, paramedics, warehouse staff – need both hands free.

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam