Sunglasses specialist Oakley could be set to compete with internet powerhouse Google as the eyewear company announces plans for a Google Glass rivalling pair of augmented reality specs.
Following the recent unveiling of the futuristic Google Project Glass, which will see users don a pair of special AR specs to be offered heads-up information based on locations, upcoming activities and contacts, Oakley has revealed it is working on a pair of augmented reality glasses that will target improved athlete performances.
Claiming the company had been working on the technology for around 15 years, filing 600 related patents in the process, Oakley’s Chief Executive Officer, Colin Baden said: “As an organization, we’ve been chasing this beast since 1997. Ultimately, 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.”
Suggesting that the advanced technologies used would make early iterations of the augmented reality glasses rather expensive, Baden has suggested that whilst the company is looking to sports related applications at present, the eyewear, which will function on it own as well as connecting to smartphones via Bluetooth, could be rolled out to multiple markets in the future.
“Obviously, you can think of many applications in the competitive field of sports,” he said. “That’s the halo point of where we would begin, but certainly you can transcend that into a variety of other applications.”
“There’s a lot of interesting optical issues that come up when you’re trying to create a positive experience when interacting with these devices so the technology barrier to success is significant.”
Far from the first time Oakley has attempted to target technologically advanced eyewear, as early as 2004 the company released a pair of sunglasses that featured an inbuilt MP3 player and headphones.