What Is Google Glass and How Does it Function?

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Question: What Is Google Glass and How Does it Function?

Updated on August 13, 2013

Google Glass, which is being developed by Google, is the talk of the town, both among app developers and mobile users. This is a wearable computing device, which comes with a head-mounted display. This smart device displays information to users in a hands-free format and also enables them to interact with the Internet via voice commands, while on the go.

While the concept of augmented reality is not new, this project is commanding much media attention, predominantly due to its slim and sleek design and ease of use.

What exactly is Google Glass and how can one get started with it?


Here are answers to commonly asked questions on Google Glass.

What Is This Technology all About?

  • This is probably the most advanced wearable mobile technology seen so far. Resembling a pair of eyeglasses, this device packs a punch by offering great computing power and functionality within its slim, lightweight form factor. The gadget delivers small packages of information directly to the user via the use of a micro-projector, by using a completely private channel of communication, which is accessed exclusive by the user.

  • Due to its advanced features, Glass can also function as a recorder or a spy camera, recording high-quality audio, images and even HD video, by means of using natural language, voice commands or simple hand gestures.

  • Last but not the least, this technology has the built-in location awareness, accelerometers, gyroscopes and so on, which keep constant track of the user’s movements.

  • Google Glass: Industries it Could Potentially Benefit

Does Glass Provide an Experience of Augmented Reality?

Glass is commonly misunderstood as being a technology that is capable of providing users with an experience of augmented reality.

But this is not actually so. Augmented reality delivers information and visuals, which are layered atop reality, also conveying the same in real-time, with almost no noticeable time-lag in the relaying of information. This system therefore requires massive amounts of processing power to render the information perfectly to users.

Google Glass, on the other hand, makes use of what can be referred to as a mediated reality platform. This system, which essentially calls apps and services from the cloud, packages little bits and pieces of relevant information to users, thereby making optimal use of its available power supply, while also enabling wearers to achieve easy mobile communication.

Does Glass Offer Full Field of Vision?

Glass does not offer users full-field vision. It merely places a tiny semi-transparent screen on the upper right hand side of the device, which transmits information only to one eye. This glass display, which is very small, takes up only about 5 percent of the user’s natural field of vision.

How does it Project Images onto the Lens?

Glass uses what is known as a Field Sequential Color LCOS, in order to project images onto its lens, thereby enabling the user to view them in true colors.

While each image is processed by an LCOS array, the illumination is quickly passed via true red, green and blue LEDs, to be synched with the switching of color channels. This process of synchronization takes place so rapidly, that it gives users the perception of a continuous stream of images in true color.

When Is Glass Expected to Arrive in the Market?

The Explorer Edition of Google Glass is currently available at a cost of $1,500, to Google I/O developers and testers, based in the US. This product is expected to hit the retail market in the year 2014 and is expected to be significantly lesser priced for users.

Experts expect that the final retail version would be more advanced than the currently available prototype.

Update on January 15, 2014 - CES 2014: News and Updates on Google Glass 

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