Can Oakley glasses take on Google’s Project?

The Google Glass project has been known about for a while now as people come up with ideas how the technology will be utilized once it becomes available, but Google are not the only company looking to release augmented reality glasses as sunglass manufacturer Oakley is looking to take on Google with its own product.

Oakley has confirmed it is currently working on its own augmented reality glasses project according to the company’s CEO, and as SlashGear are reporting it will have both standalone and tethered functionality. The company has been researching the technology for the past fifteen years, and chief exec Colin Baden said this at first focused on sports applications, but the company has many other possibilities on the drawing board.

Baden added that “everything happens through your eyes and the closer we can bring it to your eyes, the quicker the consumer is going to adopt the platform”. Baden continued by saying the company has been working hard on the technology since 1997 but didn’t reveal the functionality of the Oakley prototypes except that they would support both standalone and tethered options.

With the standalone product the AR glasses would be a self-contained system along the lines of the company’s existing Thump MP3 sunglasses, and with the tethered version they would connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth, and according to Baden could even respond to Siri type voice commands.

The research by the company along with its 600 patents has focused on optical specifications and Baden stated that “a lot of interesting optical issues that come up when you’re trying to create a positive experience when interacting with these devices”, and added that if consumers are unable to seamlessly combine the real world view with the virtual world it could cause “headaches and discourage use, not to mention being a safety issue while wearers are moving around”.

The company would consider licensing its patented tech but Baden wouldn’t reveal if Oakley’s own Thump range would be expanded with AR technology anytime soon, and there was also no information regarding availability but Baden did warn early products won’t be cheap.

Do you like the ideal of AR glasses?

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