Google Glass comeback could be powered by over-eye micro-LED displays

Ignobly fading into obscurity after riding an initial hype wave upon its release in 2013, the Google Glass augmented reality specs have made a comeback of sorts in recent months, with a tweaked edition making fresh inroads among enterprise users.

But with the AR scene heating up again, Google may be considering to invest in the area again. A March 2016 patent from Google uncovered by Patently Applesuggests that a full revision of the hardware could yet appear.

It describes another glasses-frame-styled gadget that would use micro-LEDs in a transparent display to show augmented reality information to a user when in use.

Credit: Patently Apple

Credit: Patently Apple (Image credit: Patently Apple)

A micro-LED future

The design would answer one of the biggest problems with the original Google Glass – the fact that its display sat in a glass prism just outside of a wearer's natural field of view, making for uncomfortable and distracting glances upwards in order to check the information feed.

It'd also place information in front of both eyes, rather than just above a single eye. This would allow for images with projected depth to be rendered, with the patent also suggesting that the micro-LEDs could switch between transparent and matte modes for AR and VR applications respectively. 

Goggles, visors and other headwear could incorporate the technology too, according to the patent.

The suggested use of micro-LEDs is particularly interesting, given that Apple  owns a major micro-LED company, LuxVue. With the iPhone makers heavily rumored to be considering making their own pair of Apple AR glasses, it suggests that both companies are thinking along the same lines for AR wearable construction. The pieces of the smartglasses puzzle are starting to come together.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.