Google designs heads-up display in eyeglass lens

The latest in a series of wearable computing patent applications eyes Google Glass without the clunky display arm

Engineers at Google have developed a way to display information to people in the lenses of their eyeglasses.

An image of a heads-up display system included in a patent filing by Google.
An image of a heads-up display system included in a patent filing by Google.

The work, outlined in a patent application, is the latest in a line of research by the company that points to future head-mounted displays that don't require the clunky display arm that's present on the first generation Google Glass.

The design detailed in U.S. patent application 20130207887 calls for a small display to be mounted onto the surface of the lens of a pair of glasses. The display and a companion light source are located on the periphery of the lens and the image is funneled to the area in front of the user's eye with a couple of optical beam splitters -- passive optical devices that bend and route light.

In their patent application, the engineers have also included an eye-tracking camera and a couple of small lamps that illuminate the eye. One illuminates the entire eye and the other provides a focused beam that creates a glint in the eye to aid tracking, both likely operating at wavelengths invisible to humans.

In one of several images accompanying the application, a pair of glasses is shown with the heads-up display and eye-tracking technology mounted on each lens, but it could be used on just one lens, the application notes.

In use, the system could funnel a stream of information to the user like the current Google Glass devices. They allow wearers to read email, get news alerts, and receive other data overlaid in their field of vision.

An image of a heads-up display system included in a patent filing by Google.
An image of a heads-up display system included in a patent filing by Google.

The patent application also includes the possibility of a second camera that looks away from the wearer to enable augmented reality.

"In an embodiment with a secondary camera that captures an image of [the scene], [a] computer can use the eye tracking data and scene images to tell what part of [the scene] the user is focused on, and can use the additional data, such as the user's location established via GPS, for example, to provide information to the user about the part of the scene they are looking at," the application reads.

The application, which was published on Thursday, is the latest in a line of wearable computing patents filed by Google.

Earlier this week the company filed an application for a similar invention that just tracks the movement of the eye without the embedded display.

Patent applications provide insight into the types of projects that companies are working on. They are typically filed early on in the development process and the appearance of a patent application doesn't necessarily mean a future commercial product.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googleconsumer electronics

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?