If you’ve ever wanted to Google search with your eyes, we’ve got great news.
The Verge reported on Thursday that Google is in the early stages of development on Project Iris, the codename for an upcoming augmented reality headset with a planned 2024 launch window. The report noted that the 2024 window isn’t set in stone and the device could launch later.
As for what Project Iris can actually do, details are scarce for the moment. Google is apparently developing Iris in a building that requires special access privileges just to get inside. However, here are a few key points we know about Iris right now based on The Verge’s reporting:
They look like ski goggles
There isn’t an external power source
Exterior cameras place virtual objects in the user’s real-life field of view
It runs on Android
It uses a custom processor like the Tensor chip in Pixel smartphones
An internet connection may be required for some graphical elements
Google Glass lives on in the business and medical worlds, but it’s not a consumer product anymore.
Credit: The Washington Post / Getty Images
Other details, such as whether it’ll use Google’s existing hardware brand names (i.e., Pixel or Nest) or a new name entirely, are still up in the air. It probably won’t share a name with Google Glass, which still exists but is a purely enterprise product now.
Mashable reached out to Google for comment on this report but has yet to receive a response at the time of writing.
There are several obvious ways Google could integrate its services into an AR headset. Google Lens already lets users run visual searches and translate text in real-time from their phone cameras; those would probably be day-one features for Iris. The same goes for the AR walking instructions in Google Maps. “Just put on an Iris headset and you’ll never get lost” could be a major selling point for the device.
Though it could be a while before we see Iris in an official capacity, its existence isn’t surprising considering how much big tech is pouring into these kinds of XR (cross-reality) devices right now. Apple is supposedly working on a similar mixed-reality headset, while Microsoft already has the AR-focused HoloLens and Meta is working on a new Oculus VR headset and AR glasses, codenamed Nazaré.
Tech terms to know in 2022
In other words, get used to putting technology on your face instead of just holding it in your hands.
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