Recently the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Google that revealed their vision of extending their "Glass" optical system technology far beyond their initial eyeglass styled wearable computer. Google envisions their technology being extended through to vehicle windshields, as shown in our cover graphic, and to telescopes and so much more. It's like when Apple starting with an iPhone and then followed through with their iPod touch and then finally to their iPad. Anytime a Company can take one idea and systematically and rapidly expand it to other segments of the market, the profit payoff is enormous. Our report presents you with a wide array of Google's formal examples of where they see their technology going along with a series of jumbo graphics for easy viewing.
Future Windshields may Incorporate Google Glass Technology
In a new Google patent we find that Google envisions that their Glass optical system may one day go far beyond their initial eyeglass styled wearable computer. In a first example, Google presents us with their vision of their optical Glass technology being incorporated into the windshield of automobiles. Specifically, as seen in patent FIG. 5 below, we see an automobile driver's view (shown as # 500). Light pixels (#502) may be incorporated into the automobile windshield. Further, the light source (#512) may be located away from the light pixels on the top side of the windshield.
Information that is useful to the driver could be displayed using the array of light pixels, which may display a virtual image to a driver. For instance, the message (#506) which is illustrated as "65 MPH Current Speed" may appear as a virtual image near the center of the driver's field of view while the driver is concentrating on the road.
Observing this message may be more convenient and safe than the driver looking down at the speedometer in the instrument panel. Warning and emergency messages could also be displayed to the driver in virtual images. For instance, a message (#510) such as "WARNING: Slow Traffic Ahead" may be a another useful alert message to the driver.
Future Motor Bike Helmet Visors may Incorporate Google Glass Technology
In a second example, we see that Google Glass technology could one day be incorporated into a motor bike's helmet visor. Patent figure FIG. 6 noted below is a motorcycle helmet and visor. In this example embodiment, light pixels (#604) could be fabricated into the visor of helmet. Further, the light source (# 606) at the top of the visor could be incorporated into the helmet in order to illuminate the light pixels. In turn, a virtual image may be displayed to a wearer.
The light pixels could be arranged away from the central area of the visor in order to minimize distortion in the wearer's central vision. Although the example embodiment shows a motorcycle helmet, it is possible to incorporate the optical system into other types of helmets, such as helmets used in airplanes (like military fighter jets) or other vehicles.
Future Microscopes may Incorporate Google Glass Technology
In a third formal example, we that patent FIG. 7 shows us a side view of a microscope and a view through the eyepiece. In this example embodiment, light pixels (#704) shown in the bottom portion of the graphic, could be fabricated on the ocular lens in eyepiece (#702) and may be illuminated with light sources (#706) located around the edge of the field of view.
Various information and messages could be displayed in virtual images to the microscope user. For instance, when observing cells (#708), a user may receive information regarding the cells, such as a message (#710) stating "Cell Count 6". Alternatively, a message regarding the size of a cell may be displayed, such as message (#712) which presents "6.5 .mu.m."
Future Binoculars, Telescopes & Camera Finders may Incorporate Google Glass Technology
In yet another example embodiment, the optical system could be incorporated into an optical device, such as a telescope, binoculars, or a viewfinder (such as a camera viewfinder). In such cases, the ocular lens may be used as the transparent element. Thus, light scattering structures may be provided on the distal surface of the ocular lens and positionally-corresponding surface lenses may be provided on the proximal surface of the ocular lens, such that the light scattering structures and surface lenses function together as a plurality of light pixels.
The ocular lenses in other types of optical devices, such as telescopes, binocular, and camera viewfinders may similarly be provided with light pixels that can be selectively illuminated by light sources to display virtual images to the user. The virtual images may, for example, provide instructions or information regarding the user's use of the optical device and/or information relating to objects that are observable through the ocular lens.
Customizing the Glass Experience
Google states that during the fabrication of the optical system in the Head Mounted Display (HMD), the location, shape and orientation of surface lenses and/or light-scattering structures may be customized to a particular HMD wearer.
For instance, the position of various optical elements may depend upon physical characteristics of the wearer, such as the wearer's interocular distance. Additionally, other physiological differences, such as color blindness or eye shape, may merit customization for various wearers.
The customization process may consist of fabricating the optical system based on measurements and optical tests of the wearer. Alternatively, customization may take place `live` with the wearer actually wearing the HMD device while light-scattering structures are formed. "Live" customization may include wearer feedback to calibrate the fabrication process.
Additionally, the HMD wearer may simultaneously observe from lens elements in a real-world image with an overlaid virtual image. The HMD may include various elements such as a computer, a touchpad, a microphone, various buttons and a camera. The computer may use data from, among other sources, various sensors and cameras to select the virtual image that should be displayed to the user. Those skilled in the art would understand that other user input devices, user output devices, wireless communication hardware, sensors, and cameras may be reasonably included in such a wearable computing system.
The HMD computer may also control the light sources in order to adjust other aspects of the virtual image. For instance, the light sources may be controlled using the HMD computer to adjust the display location of the virtual image as well as the virtual image brightness and contrast.
Google filed their patent application under serial number 281780 back in Q4 2011. It was published earlier this month by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such Google Glass related products coming to market are unknown at this time.
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