Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Google applies for projector patent Project Glass

By on 10:39 PM

Google applies for projector patent Project Glass
For the longest time, a staple in designs for wearable computing concepts has been the use of a projector for input. Maybe you want to show what you are seeing to someone else, or maybe you need a larger canvas to interact with. Whatever the reason, there’s been a desire to stick a projector somewhere on your body for interaction. Google’s latest patent application continues this thought with what looks like projector integration into their Project Glass wearable tech.

While the current iteration of Project Glass includes a single lens with all the computer bits on one side of your head, Google has applied for several patents in the past that show off a model that more closely resembles a full set of glasses. With that design comes a whole second half of the frame that could be filled with technology and purpose. Currently, you interact with Project Glass through a combination of voice, head gestures, and the touchpad on the side of the headset. Each has their own distinct purpose, but the limits of these interaction methods become clear when you have to make a single selection out of multiple options. For example, it wouldn’t be easy to dial a phone number with these input methods. For this, Google seems to be headed to the projector for answers.

Google applies for projector patent Project Glass

As pico projectors slim down and higher quality cameras become available in a wearable format, the idea that you could use a projector to interact with a wearable computer comes closer to reality. If you have a projector that is bright enough to place a dialer or a menu in the palm of your hand or on the wall in front of you, and a camera that is accurate enough to detect your selections as you reach out, the concept becomes clear. This way, you could simply look down at your hand and type in whatever you’d like, or stare down at a desk as a full-sized keyboard appears in front of you for typing. All the while, the hardworking parts of the computer rest on either side of your head.

As this is just a patent application, there’s no real concept for how this would actually work.Microsoft has the closest thing to something like this patent with their Omnitouch demonstration, pictured above, but that technology is far from being wearable just yet. The speculation is a lot of fun, but there are plenty of obstacles first. Pico projectors would have to run cool enough to be on for any length of time while strapped to your head, and the camera would need to be able to accurately detect your hand in a 3D space. While all of this is going on, the headset would need to be just as light as the current Project Glass headsets. This could be an interesting insight into the next generation of wearable tech from Google, but for now it’s just a fun pipe dream.
Google applies for projector patent Project Glass


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