Google is rumoured to be developing a pair of sci-fi-style heads-up display glasses, which can overlay information onto the wearer's field of vision for hands-free augmented reality.
According to a report on the 9to5Google blog, the glasses resemble those worn by the Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 Series 800 Terminator (aka "Arnold wearing leather and a frown") in the 1984 James Cameron film.
They are said to include a built-in front-facing camera and an integrated heads-up display for one eye, as well as a microphone and speakers for phone functionality. There is also some suggestion they might incorporate internet connectivity and GPS.
Development is apparently far enough along that Google is thinking about launching them in beta mode to the public sometime this spring.
According to 9to5Google's tipster, the glasses look like Oakley Thumps (pictured above) and are said to have the processing power and storage of a last-generation Android phone.
Before you start squirreling money away for a pair, however, there are a few caveats: the heads-up display is for one eye only and it is not transparent, they do not have dual 3D configurations, as previously speculated, and if you want to scroll around or “click” you have to tilt your head.
It sounds like Google is still trying to decide how to market the glasses, as this kind of technology has a decidedly niche appeal. 9to5Google says the company is “unsure if [the glasses] will have mass-market appeal” and that they're “considering making this a pilot program, somewhat like the Cr-48 Chromebooks last year.”
In reality, a pair of attractive, lightweight, affordable glasses with a heads-up display and Internet capability would still have to be functionally unobtrusive to get the general public interested, though the potential for speciality applications, from industrial to military use, would be boundless.
PCWorld's Matt Peckham contributed to this article.