Smart Glasses Saga: from Google's rise and fall to the prospects of AI-powered eyewear

4 January 2024


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In 2015, Google Glass exploded like meteors, special smart glasses able to take pictures, shoot videos with cameras implanted in frames, make and receive calls and much more. The IT giant project didn’t take off. There would have been a new attempt in August 2022, but privacy issues have set it back once again. In the market, with time, have appeared, however, other models. Among these those that have been most successful are the signature of Ray-Ban with the collaboration of Meta, Essilor Luxottica and the integration of artificial intelligence OpenAI. But recent investigations have shown that competition could be wider.

The Google experience with smart glasses

In August 2022, Google began a new phase of testing its smart glasses for augmented reality. For the new Google glasses the code name is "Project Iris" and, unlike the classic headset we are used to, these glasses will look like a classic frame, but that inside its lenses contains cameras and a microphone for audio.According to rumors, the tests took place in selected areas of the United States and on a small number of people.

Google has illustrated some operations that these glasses offer, among them very interesting is the ability to show those who wear these glasses subtitles in another language directly through the lenses in real time.The tests should have lasted two years and the product should have been put on the market in 2024. First in March 2023 and then in June 2023 the company announced that it had abandoned all projects related to smart glasses.

The privacy problem

The reasons would seem to be mainly two. The first related to poor sales, the second to concerns from users regarding the privacy of people filmed by these cameras.

Google tried to reassure everyone, but without too much success. The IT giant has therefore abandoned the idea of smart glasses, but has not stopped working within the reality increases. It would be in fact in the pipeline to propose an ad hoc operating system for hardware manufacturers that can make the AR work with Android. In addition, a project in collaboration with Samsung and Qualcomm for the realization of a visor for mixed reality would be underway.

Perspectives and competitions in the world of smart glasses

And just Qualcomm would be working on a model of smart glasses simpler that give priority to audio interaction. It is instead throwing on the mixed reality Apple with the new headset can show holograms in 3D.

But those who seem to believe more in smart glasses and be later in the project seem to be Meta, with Ray-Ban and Essilor Luxottica. Over the next decade, Mark Zuckerberg, reports the Financial Times, predicts an evolution towards a convergence between smart glasses and more immersive VR headsets, highlighting a gradual shift towards artificial intelligence-centered development.

The big IT giants are trying to launch in this market, but it is not yet known if they will succeed and if the future of immersive reality will be dictated by smart glasses.

SOURCES: Financial Times

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