The sequel to Google’s ill-fated smart glasses, Google Glass, may not have a screen, and rely solely on audio, according to reports
Google’s Project Aura, the team behind the Google Glass prototype headset that launched in 2013, is reportedly working on three new versions of the head-mounted device – two of which do not have a screen.
However, Google insisted at the time that it was not abandoning the project. The company said it would continue to invest in its Glass at Work programme for enterprise developers and companies, and would release a new version of the wearable device “when it’s ready”.
Now The Information reports that there are three versions of the headset in development – one with a screen, that is targeted at enterprises, and two consumer versions without screens that rely on audio. One of the models is reportedly targeted at “sport” users.
Like the original Google Glass, the headsets will reportedly used bone conduction technology, allowing users to remain aware of the world around them while listening to audio. It is thought that they will be unveiled in 2016.
Google is no doubt hoping that getting rid of the screen will help to overcome some of the problems with the original Google Glass prototype.
Despite the best efforts of fashion designers, like Diane von Furstenberg and Luxottica (the company behind Ray-Ban and Oakley), Google Glass failed to shake off its nerdy image, due to the prism-like display that jutted out from the frame and sat in front of the lens.
Glass was also beset with controversy, due to the ability of the wearer to take photos and record videos surreptitiously. Some bars in San Francisco had banned people from wearing Glass, after a series of attacks on users. The device was also banned in cars, cinemas, casinos, hospitals and banks.
Google went as far as to issue an etiquette guide for users of its Glass headsets, urging them not to be ‘Glassholes’, and to be respectful and polite while wearing the headsets.
Since then, the Google Glass team, led by Ivy Ross, has moved out of the Google X division, where Google projects are incubated, and has become its own entity within Alphabet, Google’s parent company .
The Google Glass team has been renamed Project Aura, and has been hiring engineers, software developers and project managers – some of which come from Amazon’s hardware-focused research division Lab126 – according to the Wall Street Journal .
The team is now focused on developing “smart eyewear and other related products,” according to several job adverts posted on Google’s website in May.
The description suggests that Google may be looking to expand Glass into a family of assorted wearable products, rather than the single head-mounted device that struggled to win over consumers.
This article was written by Sophie Curtis from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.