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TECHNOLOGY

April 23rd, 2013

Google's augmented reality glasses get more real



I

t seems we're getting closer to seeing a Google-powered cyborg army wandering the streets shouting voice commands at themselves.

There have been miscellaneous sightings of the prototype Google Glass Explorer Edition eyewear here and there since it debuted at the Google I/O conference last June, and in January and February of this year, developers got their first taste of what they could do with it.

And now, with the video above, we have a better idea of how Glass will work. They might not be the full-on, head-up-display glasses previewed in the Project Glass demo video at the bottom of this post, but they aren't too far off and look like they'll offer some interesting functionality.

What are they?
Google Glass Explorer Edition is the first product to come out of the company's Project Glass. At its most basic level, a Glass device is something that lets you see and interact with the world around you without disconnecting from it.

The Glass headset is designed to be out of the way so it doesn't interfere with your activities. According to Google, it weighs less than most pairs of sunglasses. On the side is a touch pad for control, on top is a button for shooting photos and videos with the built-in camera, and there's a small information display positioned above the eye out of the line of sight.

The actual details about the specs that have been released are pretty light, other than to say the Explorer Edition has a camera, multiple radios for data communication, a speaker and a mic, and a gyroscope so Glass can tell your position and orientation at all times. Going by its FCC filing this includes a Broadcom 2.4GHz 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi radio and Bluetooth 4.0 as well as bone-conduction speakers, which would keep your ears open to your surroundings.

What can I do with Glass?
Eventually the eyewear may lead you through every aspect of your waking life, but in its current state of development it looks like you'll be able to do things such as have Google+ Hangouts, live-stream video, and snap pictures or shoot some movies and share what you capture with little effort. Google search is, of course, part of the package.

Judging by the video above and the product site, you'll initiate a voice command by saying "OK, Glass," followed by whatever it is you want to do, such as "take a picture." The experience seems to be very similar to using Google Now on Android devices with Jelly Bean.

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