The “Prism” is what makes the magic happen. This semi-transparent block is used to project images directly onto your retina, making images appear as if they are overlaid onto reality. The images themselves are semi-transparent, meaning you can still see what’s going on around you, the idea being that you don’t end up under a bus after day one.
Take pictures by simply talking to yourself. Broadcast whatever you’re looking at over the web (free if you’re connected to wi-fi) by saying “OK, Glass, start broadcasting” (after registering with the Livestream app). Record 720p HD video and 5mp stills. The quality is fairly poor (equivaent to an iPhone 4 camera) but the possible uses are tantalising.
Right now apps are limited but they do show potential. Google showcased a constellations app that overlays information about the stars as you gaze at the heavens. For those interested in crypto-currencies, you can load a bit-coin tracker onto the glass so you can try to aviod the next crash.
Hardware and software
The exact specs aren’t clear but it seems to be a fair bit lower spec tat a high-end smartphone, with a dual-core processor and somewhere around 1GB of RAM. Unsurprisingly, it runs Google’s Android software (Ice Cream Sandwich). Don’t necessarily freak out, though – a lot of the unit’s power will be “borrowed” from the smartphone it’s linked to.
The whole point of Google Glass is that it blends using a smartphone-like device with going about your daily life, and that means hands-free. The microphone allows you to speak to both the device, which understands commands, and to friends, either over video/audio conferencing or phone-calls linked to your smartphone. To start, just say “OK, Google Glass...”
Google Glass’s speakers are rather more interesting than your avearge audio devices. It uses “bone conduction”, a technology where a vibrating element provides audio via direct contact with the user’s head. It’s similar to the technology used in hearing aids.
Battery life issues are the bane of our lives – iPhones seem to spend an inordiante amount of time on one per cent – so how does Glass measure up? Google claims a day’s “typical” use, but if you go around recording everything you look at, expect them to fizzle out some time after noon.