Reporters' Roundtable Ep. 120: Google GlassesGoogle has announced that it working on Project Glass, an effort to create a glasses-based heads-up display for the real world. What's the technology? When will it be available? We discuss with our writer Martin LaMonica, and with the CEO of a company...
For everyone this is -- -- needle in San Francisco with reporters roundtable. Google says we soon may have augmented reality Google Google -- It is the coolest tech demo we've seen this year. Google has announced that it is working on project lacks an effort to create a class is based heads up display for the real world. With the Google glasses you'll be able to look at a window and get a weather report overlaid on your field of view look at a product to get information about. Look at a bus stop and see you on the next busses -- share photos and maybe even look at -- face and get the name that goes with it who wouldn't love that. Google glasses can be seen as a competitor to Apple's Siri that personal assistant on your Smartphone that is supposed to help you live your -- -- life. Of course. Charities for the demo -- glasses followed quickly after the official Google Video. They highlighted the annoyance factor of having content especially ads pop up in your field of view and the potential dangers from walking or playing the ukulele. While distracted. -- -- When will you be stumbling down the street behind a -- of Google content Google classes may be available this year. Okay so our guests to talk about this really interesting in scifi development are first our writer -- little Monica who's been covering this development for us over at CNET news and -- thanks for joining us. -- also the CEO of recon instruments' -- eyes and -- This is a company that is now making actual augmented reality glasses -- or I aware. For skiers Dan thanks for joining us today. It of course Google wouldn't join us for the show this is just like there when they announced their -- driver less cars -- a big splash the news leaked out and then they wouldn't talk to anybody. For a while about it to send the -- the same thing with all the stuff comes out of the -- a -- I wanna start with you but tell us. It's specifically what did Google actually announced with this musical project collapse right. Right so let's hope budget cost -- from this lab which you reference called Google -- labs. And only did -- say they disclose that they were working on these -- Augmented reality glasses -- much of the actually use that term it isn't it working on this project this new. Type of glassware that we that's essentially a Spitzer to these wraparound glasses with the small screen but the right -- And time you can operate this as you would operate sort of a Smartphone except its voice activated and in this video that they showed with the -- the announcement. There is this guy this kind of cool guy from New York I'm moving around town and didn't go through his day and -- notification come up that screen. And you know it's like magic he he he has the information needs that he can find things in the bookstore in the rule notification that the subways. Down -- answer. I'm so that's within apps that they're working on this and that they want some from. Feedback on what to people who like what people think about dusty death leaking given that pace and Dan you've been doing this you've been doing augmented reality products tells a little bit about your product first. Yeah we develop and -- -- modular it's a display systems at that snaps it in terror. Fashion eyewear from the leading players like -- dot net optics and you race. Now pass out plugs are very compact Sarah why analysts are -- -- -- -- -- and so liberated I would suitable for everyday use each honored that the snow sports S segment first and 9%. Abuses there already Wear goggles so don't have user adoption that was sat and easier set -- But the atom. We've we've got our our focus on a lot of other applications as well it will roll out today in the near future also are -- Ports so your goggles. It looks like they take their location. Altitude speed information GPS and projected -- not. In fact over the users field of view but in a corner below where the goggles that it gives them -- coverage. What have you learned about this product in terms of what in users can process and what they want. In your particular current market which is a snow sports. I'm with frost and most important thing -- safety. -- so we we cater to consumers who remain constant notion. And never depend on anonymous truce if they're dependable display they can use or. Glasgow -- -- fixing it GPS information like our great speed and in distance but also practical things like navigation spot on an activity. And track and don't friends' locations. -- so what we've set a strong what is that people want to want a situation where awareness. And they don't want a solution they want something that when they want to look at it it's an active choice. Back and that's that's I think -- successfully delivered on -- So what's your take on the Google announcement here. We in school is doing a lot of parents and it has a display industry. Batting with their recent and that -- and penal code -- and add people started to go to learn and -- to dream up that difference in areas or. -- commercials -- mass market applications. Acting people deep down know that it's not realistic -- -- today. And I think it's close but its -- this for years out. -- but -- gets people thinking about what what's to come back and we're very thankful for that happening as you as you know -- Apple is based on Android. It's an open source model -- so we -- -- grew up in Canada. So -- you've been -- by -- covers all the cool stuff because he's on the robots beat here so he's got the best the best coverage areas. Will the what do you think of this such technology are our people ready Ford and is the technology ready for us. -- judging from the reaction I think people particularly tech -- are below is CNET readers would be all over this it seems like I mean it really was the -- part artwork tomorrow because demo. For for a long time certainly this year. I'm so I think this stuff -- -- along a lot of tech tech appeal you know instruments fashion statement I mean Sergey Brin was seen wearing them the next day which is kind of funny. -- -- In terms of how ready it is com. I think it's what they showed was a stretch edit you have to do all that stats and seamlessly would be very. Would be -- -- not to say it's beyond. Beyond capabilities of what -- what's available now it. It would take some work to. To make it to assist -- let me just just for example the -- the voice recognition software. -- -- to work seamlessly and I think. I think there's a lot of ergonomic questions to account. The operate this you know this -- does the screen how do you focus on the screen how do you control lists in the first place. That was very clear video now -- was seen wearing. What may for all we know have been a wooden and plastic. Casing for a possible global goggles and as he -- -- and -- and -- Scoble LaMont is head. And I would lift Scoble or anything -- I was that's kind of that's different -- Was he wearing the legal thing or was he -- -- showing what the nerds -- -- future will be looking like. Com. Honestly I don't -- I mean I suspect he was flying with sensor early prototype -- testing them and this is this these are real things around it's not complete. -- where I am but as to. How ready it is. You the hardware or the servers behind it I think that's I think that's that's a ways off and -- you you know it's really speculation -- that's a pretty dense. Let's talk a little bit about the technology that's required to make -- augmented reality in your eyeballs work. There's -- a lot of things as as there is with any kind of ubiquitous technology there's a lot of pieces that have come together. Others the optical the the input method. The data and all that let's start with the optical now Dan. One of the instinct problems with with products like yours is. You've got at a product which is inches from your eyeball. And yet the user is focusing on things that are hundreds of feet away optically infinity. How do you square that without having user having to shift focus all the time and how will Google do this. Social reusing a sort of day at a high contrast -- -- popular late technology. -- which is basically a micro CD and then we have spent acrylic. And displaying -- -- -- like a prison acknowledging parliament. Which Mac finds an image and then all winds about autonomy. So so we thought there are teams of scientists working here our labs that -- -- netstat and and we saw that was the best application for. That's all our users -- -- moves but. No we we have -- platforms systems that. -- is basically agnostic to the display type so once you feel the yet. Transparent displays a mature enough and and here you know I think 2000 cubic things there that there's to a -- And a long way to go and turns off power consumption in -- -- -- brightness for outdoor use and. Pack and then the safety aspect and dad and needs be overcome. And -- -- hasn't displaced and seats and displays and by no means new technology. It's been around or for decades -- if you're really eighteen fighter pilot. A stack exactly but we've got a -- element and you got more space you and your connected dead -- according to -- -- power source which you want something that's. That's not -- bet that's fashion to fashionable. Pack and it lasted for more than men and thirty minutes and it doesn't cost you 5000 dollars. And it's very very difficult to imagine that that I can being done today. There's a lot of couples that it would come as well -- -- I do think it's coming but I do think there is that there's there's just a bunch of challenges and -- -- -- Now I did a little I was looking at that these pictures of of -- is. Had things which which had would look like a very small monocle below that his field division in the core service -- division. That appear to be a -- that was reflecting something -- was coming out of a projector -- Around his eyebrow. Which led me to think that what was happening with that particular product was that he was. Projecting something into his -- rather than being a see through type technology. And in order to do what -- what the video showed where the images were actually in front of your face not just a -- -- -- little corner like recon. That's a fairly different technology -- do you know anything about that type of kind of retinal projection type of stuff is that what we were looking at here. And I. Good question. It and probably it might be able to comment on the but I think they think it -- -- -- the -- -- that's one -- -- -- challenges -- -- -- That is what you said earlier controlling it. But also having -- immerses. Thinks it's not. So that it doesn't -- and continue doing what you're doing safe walking down the street for instance is not being able to chip focus. Com and still be useful information. Mom put. -- I can't really comment and data ahead. I can come around that I don't think it's -- -- and no ads expecting noted. -- and the reason why I don't think it's red numbers basic -- is because BI -- says it's very very small. Which means -- only a slight one millimeter movement. Edits they have to frame where the ads -- -- and you're completely -- -- you can't see anything. So it's very very sensitive to movement and I think if you -- about. That -- property crackle. With our technology so I don't think I actually think what's been shown -- add variant of what we have. At would just add the -- lens exposed it looks like -- -- to occur that's Saturn that's my theory. So dandy EU have money or little gizmos -- -- mean we've seen that the demo video but we haven't seen the whole. The -- -- here where do you have one there what's what's this. They are yeah I do have one with me and -- This is this is basically how it looks it says specifically designed to fit into ASCII also not got a -- it with me as well in case you don't know that looks like this is one of our -- -- you Rex. As so it looks pretty much like an apparent bottles earlier but today it actually -- a cavity. -- built into it. Add on each side. On the right and that site where error which means you can take our to display and -- -- it it. Into the vaults -- so -- How it works. -- and what how do you what do you do for input on how does the user control listening to I mean they've got these big heavy ski gloves on -- like jabs -- eyeball what -- ski -- and how do you need to listening to do stuff. Yet -- this year -- -- thought ray remote control which is due to slow energy source are merchants for years and -- harmonic. Parent and Andy -- Friendly big buttons here it's like buttons and directional buttons that act and we've got a scraps even put it on your wrists or under although Estrada. He adds but there with our technology unity reaching through gesture controls voice command Saturday. Or to things -- imagine what we just started out with. With this basic applications comes with the goals. Okay now -- I want to talk about. How Google gets the information that it will then magically display in front of your -- Of course they have Google can get -- a location information orientation which way you're pointing we help. It knows com what time it is -- knows who your friends are. What information is necessary to overlay -- check in at the mud truck or. This book is three dollars less on Amazon or -- in the when you're looking at. Did any image recognition can this be done -- with what the Smart phone already -- On I think the most argued it could be done with Saddam with a worse Smartphone apps I'm -- -- voice recognition. Did you -- it implies a lot going on behind the scenes in and I think it you know so. You know as I -- -- it and artificial intelligence software. Expert. On about -- -- an idea of you know what what's involved in this sort of thing and he said. You know for this to really make sense for anyone to actually use this you'd have to do a lot of data analysis and filtering and back end and you could walk up to a store and see fifty and since the all kinds information that you don't. That isn't relevance due to what you want at that moment. And I that would will be to trick is is today is -- Highly personalized relevant information that I will let will actually help people around them from computers are part of town so we've got to talk about safety and distraction -- all the parodies and some of them are just hilarious. Involve people bumping in the polls falling down stairs or getting so many pop of advertisements that they can't see the real world in front of them. The and you worked on the safety issue here how much and new information -- human process when they are doing the job. Of navigating their body through the real world what what else can they deal. Well now you can so compare this to when the Smartphones came out and suddenly world glancing down and not -- bash every -- ten minutes. And some -- even texting -- there are driving the car so. That it's not recommended so we can -- getting used to a lot of things we can we can train BI to suit. Look at they had the most irrelevant information today and just brief split second. Atom but there are limitations says so and then when it's all about safety you know or your own -- health this is at risk here and and and also others. So I think every US and looked -- ray add rule many -- -- -- Have a responsibility so what's the consumers not to put anything out there that it could be a liability. So is the way this works from -- business perspective that I'm an -- people buy these things but there are we are we gonna see ads popping up in front of us minority report style -- were walking down the street. -- did you guys take this one. Well I can jump in and and just remind people that's how Google explained recommending they make look -- services which are added support and so you would think that that would be business on here. On the other hand. You know there's the question as to what actually works for the user and it could really being poorly done as all these blueprints idiots are all these -- parody videos showed. I think. If there is advertising -- to -- mean that you really judiciously time and and a not too annoying yes let's hope -- hope and then go ahead. Yeah I totally agree with that I think it has to be here -- in it has to be value adding to endure that particular situation. But I do think it's possible to engineer that. Okay. Are you do you -- -- like little hot tidy advertisers when you're out on the slopes -- on your product. Not yet but who -- -- on merit so. Now if if if the listener of your of the show wants to experiment with this very cool technology they can't of course. Be a skier or snowboarder and by the I recon instruments' products. How much does that cost to get set up to get this kind of augmented reality for your products -- We tested two versions at 299 in answering ninety -- -- -- module. And then there's a -- -- wide variety of -- you can choose from at different price points ranging from several hundred to it to 200 dollars. Are in orbit hot buttons for the full -- version for the 400 to 399 dollar version of other account instruments thing what information do I get one on the slopes. You get there it. Well a lot of Mason all the standard -- yes and from. -- that navigation so all that resource maps there in the world already preloaded and very good buddy tracking. Connection to your Smart phone so you get text messages and caller ID in playlist today -- -- And that it and jump airtime is another app that we yeah we -- So that this guy's -- -- here and then obviously with the Smart token activity you get access to all those apps. As well as we have -- -- case so the community they communities can just develop. -- system -- it is already there. -- -- -- -- I just editorial comment. That's cool now -- when are we gonna get the stuff from Google four of the rest of our -- troll for walking around what school telling us. Google is not saying people are speculating. This -- and a -- Because a significant is that they thought it was advanced enough that they shared what they're actually doing so. Does Google do that you know here before the release products two years and -- it's it's kind of hard to say but now I think I think. I think what we'll probably see is. Our products and a certain set of services obviously -- is -- -- be really important so you know that's gotta be cooked. Arm and its delicate apples and Syria -- a couple things and it doesn't well. I think if -- Smart about it they'll they'll take a similar approach so instead of having everything that guided and video. It'll be if you knew you -- a couple location services or I'm not really sure -- but. My suspicion is that though now it it'll take awhile for this stuff that it's actually about what else is going on in the labs that we know about over in Google skunk works. But it that was one of the interesting things they came out at this this -- news cycle is that at Google fessed up to Google labs Google X -- Com which until now it's been secretive com and they haven't Sorenson and even acknowledge successes. -- but they they -- from it's it's far off stuff. I'm so one of the products mentioned earlier is the -- carton which school has actually been doing for several years -- and making real progress on. -- and a few other things that -- Bennett. Our arms whenever things I'm -- united devices -- -- -- all connected to the Internet and can be controlled remotely and answer the thing. Common one of the guys who worked on a driver's car and worked on on on this project class com is an expert in robotics. I -- and machine learning and artificial intelligence. So com. You know it does some hints -- -- what they're working on just kind of more like you know -- -- working now and if the machine up in the sky artificial intelligence. Doing more and more things than and I think this whole. Instead of things -- business interest schools well. -- and we're counting on you to tell us when the Google bots are going to be marching down our streets should have -- -- -- -- -- -- -- on the keep on -- there about the movements thanks your time. Dan. Is the CEO recon instruments AS -- approached about this technology by any chance. Pad. And -- out there okay I didn't think you would I had desk. Dan thanks so much your time on -- as a -- again is the CEO reconditioned and -- combined is augmented reality stuff right now if you are a winter sports -- -- Monica is writer for -- over at CNET news gentlemen thank you very much your time we'll see -- soon.