Patent pictures hint at unobtrusive Google Glass design

The high-tech specs may someday look more like ordinary glasses, if this set of pictures shows a new design direction.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

Google patent for glasses
These specs look pretty normal from the outside. Google

Google Glass has a bit of an image problem in some circles. While Glass Explorers proudly wear their gear, it's hard to miss the hunk of technology hanging off the side of the glasses. That cyborg kind of look doesn't sit well with people who prefer their wearables to be more on the subtle side. It makes sense Google would be investigating ways to tone down the appearance of Glass.

A patent (US Patent D710,928 S) granted on August 12 to Google and inventors Mitchell Heinrich and Eliot Kim may give us a sneak peek at a possible new design concept for Glass. It's noticeably sleeker and appears to show the display tech hiding inside the frames, rather than proudly standing out in the open.

Heinrich is a Google engineer involved with Project Glass. His website describes his involvement like so: "Early stage mechanical architecture layout. Lead the consumer packaging development for the explorer release. Developed human factors numerical and physical models to fit Glass on as many people as possible. Co-developed the bone conduction audio system including component design and testing. Broad range of low and high fidelity prototype development."

The patent application refers to a "wearable display device" and shows a fairly normal set of Buddy Holly-style glasses. Instead of having the projector hanging off to the side, it appears the display apparatus is tucked into the inside near the hinge on the right side.

There aren't many details that can be gleaned from the patent, but it could point to the eventual arrival of a more accessible look for Glass. People who object to the appearance of the current model would have a lot less to complain about if Google ends up going in this low-key design direction. If you're not a Google Glass fan, would a new look like this change your mind about it?

Possible Google Glass patent image
Buddy Holly would have looked good in these. Google

(Via Glass Alamanac)