updated 08:15 pm EDT, Fri April 13, 2012
Valve Software elaborates on wearable tech work
Valve Software researcher and veteran programmer Mike Abrash has posted a long retrospective that has also gone into detail about wearable computing studies. He had started on it after realizing there was no immediate need for more work on Portal 2 and saw it as a chance to explore always-available computing. Wearable hardware could be a practical reality within 10 years and possibly under five, he said, and the research would help speed this along.
It was an experimental project, with no strict guidance from the top, but it was getting enough support that the team was hiring very aggressively, including hardware engineers. The process was one of trial and error where the company would test and iterate quickly if something failed, although what kind of progress it made, if any, depended on what it discovered in the process.
Given the nature of the project, Abrash couldn't promise a real-world result. "It doesn’t in any way involve a product at this point, and won’t for a long while, if ever – so please, no rumors about Steam glasses being announced at E3," he said.
The initiative puts Valve on a parallel track to Google's Project Glass, which is aiming for much the same goal. Google is likely to lean heavily on Android either on the glasses or even on a smartphone to make it work, but rumors have had Project Glass becoming a reality as soon as this year.