The noob “Google Glass or Google Glasses” question sounds like it’s about to get tougher to answer: Google Glass is going bi.
Sergey Brin is listed as one of the inventors of a binocular Google Glass device that the Mountain View company recently patented. It doubles the amount of virtual vision space that it can overlay in an augmented reality display and uses laser-positioning beams to fine-tune image alignment on what in most cases will be a curved and sometimes flexing surface: the inside of the glasses’ lens.
Unfortunately, it could also be much less cool than the Geordi LaForge-style one-lens Google Glass that we’ve all seen:
The key challenge that this invention for binocular head-mounted displays is designed to overcome? Not making users dizzy and potentially sick.
As the patent application states:
One technological hurdle to overcome to further encourage marketplace adoption of HMD technology is identifying and compensating for binocular HMD deformation. Deformation of a binocular HMD can lead to deleterious misalignment between the left and right image displays of the binocular HMD. These misalignments can result in a blurred or otherwise compromised image as perceived by the user, which ultimately leads to a poor user experience (disorientation, dizziness, etc.). Deformation can occur due to a variety of reasons including misuse, poor user fit, nonsymmetrical facial features, harsh environmental factors (e.g., thermal warping), or otherwise.
Essentially, if the glasses change shape for any reason, the image will warp, and this will compromise your user experience. It’s yet another example of how the most amazing inventions — full-scale augmented reality in a pair of glasses — can have issues with the simplest of problems: Our heads are not all the same shape or size.
But Google is sweating the details in a very Apple-like way to ensure Glass will have a great user experience whether you use one eye or two.
For more images from the patent application, scroll through this gallery: