Project Glass

Google “Project Glass”

Google helped to create a world brimming with digital distractions for people spending more of their lives tethered to the internet. It’s a phenomenon that seems unlikely to change, so Google is working on a way to search for information, read SMS's, watch online video and post photos on social networks without having to fumble around with a hand-held device.

The breakthrough is wearable computer-internet –connected glasses that Google began secretly building more than two years ago. The technology progressed far enough for Google to announce “Project Glass”. Now the futuristic experiment is moving closer to becoming a mass-market product.

Google said that it was selling a prototype of the glasses to US computer programmers attending a three-day conference in San Francisco. Google hired skydivers to jump out of a blimp hovering 2 130m above San Francisco. They wore the internet-connected glasses, equipped with a camera, to show how the product could unleash new ways for people to share their most thrilling – or boring – moments. As the skydivers parachuted on to the roof of the building where the conference was held, the crowd inside was able to watch the descent through the skydivers’ eyes as it happened. The company is counting on the programmers to suggest improvements and build applications that will make the glasses even more useful.

“This is new technology and we really want you to shape it,” says Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

If all goes well, a less expensive version of the glasses is expected to go on sale in early 2014. Without estimating a price for the consumer version, Brin made it clear that the glasses would cost more than smartphones.

“We do view this is as a premium sort of thing”, Brin told reporters. He acknowledged that Google needed to fix bugs in the glasses and work out how to make the battery last longer so that people could wear them all day.

Developers willing to pay $1 500 (R12 600) for a pair of the glasses will receive them early next year.

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