Augmented reality describes a view of the real world that includes superimposed graphics. Typically, this is done by projecting images on a screen between the viewer and his or her view--a screen such as lenses in a pair of glasses. It can also be done by adding dynamic graphics to a live video scene, as many smartphone apps do. Some military and medical applications of the technology rely on images projected directly on a person's eye.
Google+ page provides a glimpse of what to expect from Project Glass, the experimental augmented reality project being developed at Google X, the company's recently formed skunkworks.
"A group of us from Google X started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment," explained Google engineers Babak Parviz, Steve Lee, and Sebastian Thrun in their post. "We're sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input. So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do."
The existence of Google X was first disclosed late last year and reports that the researchers there were exploring augmented reality surfaced in February.
This is the first time Google has officially acknowledged this particular project.
Writing for the New York Times, Nick Bilton notes that Babak Parviz is known for creating contact lenses embedded with electronics, which suggests that Google's augmented reality might be available in a form factor smaller than sunglasses at some point.
Google has posted a video on YouTube (embedded below) that explores how the glasses might work. The scenes shown are not actual production footage of the glasses in the field. They're augmented with post-production graphics that show how Project Glass might work. But the video conveys what Google hopes to achieve: a seamless experience where the technology enhances activities and doesn't interfere with them.
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