Google gives examples of ‘prototype’ glasses for live AR translation

Google’s keynote presentation at the annual developer conference concluded with a video showing a prototype of a live AR translation service on glasses.

The video shows Google product managers handing prototype glasses to research participants, “my mother speaks Mandarin and I speak English,” explains one of the participants, while the video shows “a simulated point of view” to convey the concept of how the Glasses could essentially enable real-time subtitles as a translation service in addition to the face, theoretically allowing people to maintain more eye contact while speaking.

While no details were revealed about the actual specs of the glasses, the video continued a theme from Google’s event seeking to enhance or augment interactions in the physical world, in stark contrast to a few years ago when Google began developing virtual worlds. worlds supported with Daydreaming. The language Google executives used during the presentation also seemed to contrast with Meta’s current pursuit of the “metaverse.”

“We’ve built augmented reality into many Google products, from Google Lens to multisearch, scene exploration, and live and immersive views in Maps,” write Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. “These AR capabilities are already useful on phones and the magic really comes to life when you can use them in the real world without the technology getting in your way.”

AR glasses face severe limitations in battery consumption, heat dissipation, brightness and field of view, putting the timelines for true consumer-oriented stand-alone AR glasses at least a few years in the future. However, on the path to true AR, we’re likely to see a range of ideas and concepts explored in lightweight glasses, ranging from heads-up displays to audio-based or photo sunglasses. It’s unclear exactly where the glasses Google showed are in that spectrum — we can’t see any camera sensors on them in the video, and the “simulated point of view” shows a master-locked overlay, so the text isn’t anchored to the person being translated. Still, the glasses represent another step in a process that has long been building with tech giants readying their existing services to power this upcoming augmented reality platform, which Pichai dubbed “the next frontier of computing.”

Article updated May 11 with additional context and clarifications.

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