Google Is Experimenting With Holographic Glasses And Smart Tattoos
Google, which abandoned the once sensational project of Google Glass augmented reality glasses, continues to experiment in the field of wearable electronics of a new generation. According to CNET, search engine engineers are actively funding projects or themselves exploring the potential of sunglasses that can project holograms, a VR controller that creates a sense of object sensation, and a temporary tattoo that turns skin into a touchpad.
Promising technologies that are engaged in the Interaction Lab is part of the research unit Google Research, which is headed by Alex Olwal. According to him, Google's internal laboratory aims to quickly create prototypes of wearable device concepts and interface technologies.
One of Interaction Lab's biggest projects is 1D Eyewear, which looks like regular sunglasses rather than making people look like a cyborg, unlike Google Glass. The device connects to an Android smartphone and projects holographic icons and colored lights directly into the user's eyes. For example, by flashing yellow on the right side of the lens, smart glasses in the navigation app can tell their wearer where to turn. The blue indicator can remind you of a scheduled meeting, and the green indicator can indicate a notification that has arrived in the chat.
Besides, 1D Eyewear can display 16 holograms similar to icons in Android — such as a phone icon or a speaker. However, Google does not say what this is for.
The company's undimmed interest in "smart" glasses is proved by the recent purchase of the Canadian startup North. Since last year, this firm has been producing the Focals model with support for augmented reality technologies and control using a ring. But after a deal with Google, it canceled plans to launch the 2nd generation of the gadget.
Google not only designs the devices of the future themselves but also works closely with universities around the world. At least two projects — the VR controller Gravity and the "smart" tattoo SkinMarks-are partially funded by the Google Faculty Research Awards Foundation.
Grabity is created in collaboration with scientists at Stanford University. The controller, which is attached to the thumb and index finger, controls the user's hand itself, creating a sense of sensation and weight of the object in virtual reality.
A similar idea, only in the form of VR gloves, was patented by Facebook this summer. Instead of optical motion capture or inertial tracking, this technology relies on transponders — radio sensors on each finger, which makes it much more accurate to determine the position of the hands in space. And if the user picks up a virtual item, they can feel it in their hand, because the system recognizes the "grab" gesture.
The development of a "smart" tattoo with conductive SkinMarks ink is being carried out with the participation of the German Saarland University. It can be applied to any area of the skin and even on uneven surfaces — for example, on the knuckles, turning them into buttons.
According to researchers, SkinMarks gives people a more intuitive way to manage. Sensors can be activated not only by touch or swipe gestures, as on a smartphone, but also by squeezing the area around the tattoo or flexing your fingers.
Many IT giants are thinking about which computing platform will be next after smartphones. Samsung, Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon are experimenting with different types of wearable devices, such as watches, rings, headphones, and even "smart" denim jackets. According to the forecasts of IDC analysts, 370 million wearable devices will be shipped to the market by the end of this year, and in the next two years, the volume of deliveries will grow to 525 million.