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 Apple (opens in new tab)suggests 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.
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.