updated 04:15 pm EDT, Wed June 27, 2012
I/O attendees get chance to pre-order
As a part of the Google I/O keynote, Google demonstrated some of the possibilities of its Google Glass wearable computing project. Project Glass is still nowhere close to a consumer release, but the technology shown was intended to impress, with live-streaming user perspectives.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin came on stage wearing a pair of Glass spectacles. Behind him a screen displayed a Google Hangout with several video streams; the streams were in fact live feeds from a group of skydivers wearing Glass devices. The crew leapt from a plane, and landed on the Google I/O event building before handing off a package to a group of cyclists. The cyclists then delivered the package to two more assistants, who rappelled down the side of the building and gave the package to two more cyclists. Those people, finally, delivered the package to Brin on stage. Participants in each step were outfitted with Glass devices, feeding video to the Hangout.
Before moving into the specifications of the hardware, Google also showed off the prototype being used by people playing tennis, running, and jumping into ball-pits.
Google representatives said that the device integrates a powerful CPU along with a good deal of RAM. Project Glass also contains an accelerometer, gyroscope, wireless radio, microphone, camera, speaker, and a touch-sensitive surface for input.
The presenters on stage articulated two visions for the device. The first was to enable users to capture moments and transmit their experiences without having to reach for a camera, as has already been seen in leaked images and videos.
The second goal was to have people relying on the device to access and interact with information, likely in the manner previously shown off in the first promotional video released in April. Examples of this sort of use were not shown in the onstage presentation.
Google I/O attendees will have the chance to be some of the first outside Google to handle the technology. Conference-goers will be able to pre-order Glass developer models starting today, priced at $1,500 each, with delivery sometime early next year. The company wants third-party developers to influence the design process, which likely means that the versions shown off to date will undergo significant changes before a final, consumer-ready product is available.