App developers to be given Google Glasses

February 21, 2013 // By Rick Merritt
SAN FRANCISCO – Google is preparing to release a prototype version of its Google Glasses to application developers, said the lead of the project in a panel at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference here.

"We are hoping in the not too distant future to share these with developers, and we expect some people will open them up and post what they find online," said Babak Parviz of Google who wore a version of the glasses to an evening ISSCC panel on what the killer applications will be in 2020.

The comment came in a response to a question about what processor the glasses use. Parviz said Google is not disclosing contents of the current prototype except to say it includes a display, camera, audio in and out, a gyro, accelerometer, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and the equivalent computing power of a laptop from "a few years ago."

Separately, Parviz called for multi-discipline system design tools.

"These are not simple electronics devices anymore – they involove acoustics, optics, and mechanical and electrical engineering," he said. "We don't have proper tools to monitor design across these multiple disciplines, and there are more [design] domains coming," he said.

Babak Parviz demoed his glasses taking a picture and hearing and answering a spoken question .

Like other panelists, Parvis said designers still need much more processing power at lower power levels – especially in graphics. Interestingly, Simon Segars, president of ARM, said 3-D chip stacks are one of the most important enabling technologies on the horizon.

Separately, Parviz let this reporter try on his Google Glasses. He found they are as light as regular eyeglasses, despite electronics packed next to the eye and behind the ear.

During the demo, Parviz said the glasses do not use Android, but a separate and challenging new software stack.