Google Glass to use bone conduction to transmit sound

Google's upcoming Internet glasses will use vibrations to send sound, instead of traditional speakers, according to a filing with the FCC.

If you were wondering exactly how Google's augmented reality specs are going to work, the Big G has filed some more details with the FCC (the US Federal Communications Commission). Glass will use bone conduction to transmit sound -- they'll vibrate very subtly, rather than using speakers.

As anyone who's had to endure N-Dubz leaking from someone's headphones will testify, this is a very welcome development.

The audio element will work in a similar way to some children's toothbrushes, according to Ars Technica. A vibration transducer sets the bones in your noggin buzzing, which translate the vibrations to the cochlea part of your ear, reading them as sound. The technology can be found in some headphones, like the prototypes Panasonic showed off at CES this year . It's said to be far clearer than a traditional speaker in a normal pair of cans.

In Google's filing, the bone conduction element is only mentioned for when a video plays, but it could have many other uses. Music and voice calls, for example, or alerts.

The filing also reveals the tech specs should have 802.11b/g 2.4GHz WLAN, and a low-energy Bluetooth 4.0 radio. Previously we saw mention of a laser keyboard , which would project onto any available surface so you can type wherever you are.

Google's Sergey Brin hopes to get units into developers' hands this year, with a full consumer launch slated for 2014. Considering the many hurdles involved, I wouldn't hold your breath.

The technology does look really cool though, and bearing in mind what Google Now is capable of, integrating that and more into a pair of glasses could really change how we interact with our gadgets. It's already inspired a raft of imitations .

What do you reckon of Project Glass? Is bone conduction the way to go for sound? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

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About the author

    Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.

     

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