Heads up! Latest in Google HUD glasses technology set to hit market by end of year

April 21, 2012

By Dominick M. Maino, O.D., and Geoffrey G. Goodfellow, O.D.

Google plans to release a heads-up display (HUD) system to be worn like a pair of glasses or goggles (Google Glasses). More than likely this device will be integrated with not only the expected camera, but also voice search, local search, and optical character reading technology. 

This consumer technology will supposedly include Google Cloud connectivity, a global positioning system, motion sensors, and 3G/4G connectivity, as well as a map overlay capability that will allow you to follow a HUD to the location you seek telling you the number of miles to go and when to turn.

This device could possibly allow you to find lost children in a store, friends at a concert and, more important, your lost car in the mall parking lot when you do not remember where you parked it.

Recording your life second by second, picture by picture and video by video may be as easy as blinking with the built-in camera.

As Google now owns Zagat, you will probably also receive instant reviews to the restaurant you just walked by as well.

Until the device hits the market, however, all of this is somewhat speculative.

These glasses are supposed to be ready for the public by the end of the year and may cost up to $600 (not including refraction!).

According to one report (www.9to5google.com) the glasses will mimic Oakley Thumps, high-tech sunglasses that also act as wireless headphones.

The HUD unfortunately is to be placed on one lens, and because it is non-transparent, 3-D images cannot be projected.

The glasses are controlled by tilting the head to scroll and then clicking.

These glasses are not necessarily to be worn constantly, just when needed.

They are to be used the way we use our smartphones.

Several issues need to be addressed of course. 

One of those issues is privacy. Do you really want to be recorded every time you speak to your best friend? Probably not.

For optometrists, there are also issues regarding providing refractive care, including the possible need for a plus add for those 40 or older. Because one side of the glasses will have the non-transparent HUD, problems related to binocularity come into play, as well as visual field and mobility. Did we mention that driving a car while wearing these spectacles may even be more hazardous than texting and driving? 

More on HUDs

Motion Research Corporation showcased its consumer heads-up display for motorcycle and bicycle helmets at the Annual Cycle World International Motorcycle Show.

When using this HUD, users can access their speed, distance, location and other information that is supposed to enhance their performance and safety.

So far, these various HUDs have been used in Formula 1 and Indy car racing, on motorcycles, bicycles and even go-karts.

During the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, a heads-up display for the driver was shown.

This HUD device sits where one would normally expect to see the auto’s rear-view mirror (not sure what they expect to do with the mirror, which you will still need).

The laser display connects by Bluetooth to a special app on your smartphone and can display directions, points of interest, and hazards on the road.

The HUD images are projected on a see-through display sitting on top of your road view, but do not obscure your view while driving.

It seems to us that Google and all creators of HUDs need to contact the AOA for immediate expert guidance from our colleagues to minimize consumer danger so that manufacturers can maximize consumer enjoyment.

As the population of the United States ages, concerns about accommodative demand, binocularity and eye health become vitally important and the role of the primary eye and vision care optometrist significant.

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