Google Glass, the brainchild of the folks working in Google’s fabled X labs, seems plucked straight out of a sci-fi movie. But the “smart glasses” are very real, and the designers and engineers that make them have some very real problems to solve.
For instance, how do you dial a number using the Google Glass? Or how do you input text in the situations when voice control is not an option? One relatively simple solution to these problems is illustrated in a patent application for the Google Glass uncovered by the folks at Unwired View: project a laser virtual keyboard on the user’s hand.
Google’s idea is to fit the device with a laser projector, just like those used for the laser keyboards currently available on the market. The Glass will track the user’s hand with the built-in camera and superimpose the virtual keyboard on his or her palm (or even arm).
The patent illustration shows a numerical keyboard being projected, but I see no reason why the device could not project other types of interfaces, such as a QWERTY keyboard or a graphical UI.
Note that this invention may or may not be implemented on the Google Glass. Personally, I believe that an interface based on virtual reality would work much better, but I guess Google’s brightest are pondering the problem as we speak.
Regardless of the features and (debatable) applications of the Google Glass, one thing is sure – the wearable computer is coming. Google promised that the Explorer edition of the device (which developers had an opportunity to order back in July for $1500) would ship at the beginning of the year.
The company is also preparing two “hackatons” later this month that will put the futuristic gadgets into the hands of developers. We expect all sorts of wonderful stuff to come out of the events, so stay tuned.