The Pixel Watch could control Google’s next AR glasses

Pixel Watch 2 on a wrist
The Pixel Watch 2 (Image credit: Future)

Long, long before Apple unveiled the Apple Vision Pro, Google had augmented reality (AR) eyewear of its own dubbed Google Glass, and while this device never saw the success Google presumably hoped it would, there are signs that the company is readying a new attempt – this time with some help from smartwatches like the Google Pixel Watch 2.

The latest evidence of a new version of Google Glass is a patent – spotted by Wareable and filed with the USPTO – which shows an AR headset that’s controlled by a smartwatch.

In the patent, this headset can use its camera to determine when a user is looking at their smartwatch screen, and once that has been established the watch can then be used to open apps and navigate the headset’s interface.

A Google patent image for an AR headset controlled by a smartwatch

(Image credit: USPTO)

Examples of this are making the gesture for a letter on the smartwatch’s screen, which would then cause a matching up to launch on the headset. For example, drawing a ‘U’ might launch the Uber app.

If an app is already open on the headset, then interacting with the connected smartwatch might allow you to control a cursor, or scroll through menus. So this idea would give you a way to control the headset other than your voice or eye movements, without requiring a separate controller.

Not the only solution

That said, there’s the question of how necessary this would be. After all, the Vision Pro works with hand gestures, without the need for a separate input device. Though using a smartwatch could perhaps provide more precision.

There’s also the question of whether you’d still be able to operate your wearable as a smartwatch when wearing this headset, since the patent suggests the interface would automatically switch to headset controls when you gaze at it with the headset on.

Still, it’s an interesting idea, and a way that future Pixel Watches – along likely with other Wear OS wearables – might become even more useful than they already are.

That said, plenty of patents never turn into actual products, so there’s no guarantee that any future Google headset will be controllable like this. But with Apple's Vision Pro potentially making these sorts of devices more popular, there’s a good chance that we’ll see a next generation version of Google Glass – or a successor to it – before long, whether or not it has smartwatch controls.

You might also like

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.