Google plans to publicly test augmented reality (AR) prototypes early next month, the company announced on Tuesday. Google has been exploring concepts such as AR glasses that show translations in real time, but the company wants to take its ideas from the lab to the real world. The edge previously reported that Google hopes to ship its “Project Iris” AR headset by 2024.
“This will help us better understand how these devices can help people in their daily lives,” Google’s Juston Payne wrote in a blog post. “And as we develop experiences like AR navigation, it will help us consider factors like weather and busy intersections — which can be difficult, sometimes impossible to completely recreate indoors.”
According to a Google support page, the company will test a “small number” of prototypes in select areas of the US with “strict restrictions on where testers can operate and the types of activities they can undertake.” Testers will be required to complete “device, protocol, privacy and security training”.
And the company warns that it will have prototypes that look like regular glasses, although they will have an in-lens display and “visual and audio sensors” such as a microphone and camera on board. An LED indicator tells people nearby if image data is being saved for “analysis and debugging”, which they can have deleted.
Google plans to explore use cases such as speech transcription and translation, as well as visual perception scenarios, such as translating text or assisting with navigation. The company claims its prototypes do not support photography or videography, although all image data captured during testing will be deleted unless the data is used for further analysis or debugging. “In that case, the image data is first scrubbed for sensitive content, including faces and license plates,” the company writes. “It is then stored on a secure server, with limited access by a small number of Googlers for analysis and debugging. It will be deleted after 30 days.”
Google lists “translation, transcription and navigation” as the features in test and sample glasses at Google I/O earlier this year that can show that language translated before your eyes. But by announcing these tests well before they actually take place in the real world and describing what they’ll entail, Google appears to be trying to prevent a repeat of the “Glasshole” debacle from the company’s infamous Google Glass headset. teased.