Listening to traditional headphones is so completely 2012. That’s why Google Glass wants to rattle your brain cage directly by sending vibrations straight through your skull instead of using normal speakers. The technology is called “bone conduction” and we saw a few examples of it at CES this year. It’s not exactly new, but it hasn’t caught on in the mainstream just yet. Looks like Google is going to cram as much technology people aren’t used to using into Glass as they can.
The first experimental version of Google Glass is expected later this year, and new documents filed with U.S. regulators show Google’s intention to take advantage of bone conduction. The biggest difference between bone conduction and traditional headphones is that by vibrating the skull directly, wearers don’t need to cram tiny speakers into their ear-holes, leaving them open to listen to the world around them.
Personally, I love that my earbuds block out the sound from the world around me. I hate the sounds of the world around me, but Google is probably focusing more of safety than they are in my ability to drown out the sounds of other people on the train. Leaving the user’s ears unobstructed means they’re more aware of their surroundings, and less likely to get hurt by something easily avoided if they heard it coming, like a train or a monster. That fits in with the overall concept of a device that integrates itself into the world surrounding the user, instead of distracting them from it the way most devices do.
Google Glass is already something some people are wary of. In the comment threads of other articles I’ve written on the project, a few people have written it off completely as a useless fad. Personally, I’m excited for it, and see great potential in it, but understand that some people are uncomfortable with something that is radically different than anything they’ve seen before.
Developers who have registered with Google and paid the hefty $1,500 fee will get their hands on Google Glass later this year, while the rest of us will have to wait until at least 2014 for a commercial version.
- Sergey Brin spotted in the wilds of the New York subway with his Google Glass
- Google AR game Ingress would be great to play on Google Glass
- Feeling ambitious? Why not build your own DIY Google Glass?