It looks like Amazon may be jumping into the Google Glass game. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released an approved patent this week describing a pair of augmented reality glasses designed by the publishing/merchandise/practically-everything-else giant Amazon.
It’s possible that Amazon is developing this product initially for internal use. After all, augmented reality could go a long way toward making an Amazon warehouse worker’s life a hell of a lot easier. It would certainly ease the workload if employees were able to read barcodes without a scanner, immediately locate and navigate to an item’s location, or see individualized instructions for the movement of every product.
These AR glasses aren’t exactly Google Glass clones from the sounds of it, though. The patent specifically outlines the ability of the smart glasses to swap from opaque to transparent through interaction with a tablet. Effectively, the smartness of these spectacles is toggleable, allowing the user to quickly swap between augmented and regular old reality.
If Amazon decides to make a push for the glasses commercially, they might have a steep road of ahead of them. While Google Glass has brought us a slew of advances and was one of the first products that made us really realize that our lives were going to be a lot like science fiction novels going forward, the product has yet to find a home among consumers. Maybe that’s because the consensus at large is that wearing Google Glass makes you look like a douche.
Maybe if Amazon’s smart glasses can overcome the douche factor, they’ll stand a chance in the public market. Either way, with technologies like this growing every day, one thing is for sure: the future is going to be interesting.