In April, Google revealed its augmented reality display project, named Project Glass. Google glasses haven’t landed at your nearest eyeglasses shop yet, but they have landed at the US Patent and Trade Office. Google have been awarded three different patents (1, 2, 3) for the design of augmented reality display headsets recently.
The patents do not specifically mention Project Glass, or even the word “glasses.” Rather the patents have been granted for the design, the device controls on the right side, and even a sensor on the nose bridge alerting the device when the glasses are in use and more. The patents show images of different versions of augmented reality glasses, one with lenses and two without lenses.
One patent shows that Google is working on a system to help hearing-impaired users detect and interpret nearby sounds. The glasses’ heads-up display would show arrows and flashing lights to indicate the direction and intensity level of the sound, and even display the words nearby people are speaking. The patent #8,183,997 was issued to Google with the title “Displaying sound indications on a wearable computing system.” This technology will use and integrate speech-to-text features that will allow incoming speech messages to be displayed on-screen. They mention specifically this being used for people hard of hearing or the Deaf.
The other patent documents show a more traditional pair of spectacles which could, conceivably, be fitted with prescription frames. There is a thicker area on the back of one of the sides of the frames where the hardware for the glasses will be housed. The spot seems to be curved to place it near the back of the head when worn, as that spot will get warm when users are watching or streaming video. Multiple video cameras to capture various views, and the option to “overlay computer-generated graphics in the user’s view of the physical world” will be included in it.
Google is working on the project in its research lab, Google X. The prototypes are currently being tested by the firm’s executives, including Sergey Brin and Vic Gundotra.