Google X Labs: HUD shades and taking pictures of mind’s eye

7 Feb 2012

What is the big mystery technology that Google’s X Labs is working on? Well, it’s a number of things that include sunglasses that include heads-up display (HUD) information and potentially technologies that can take pictures of your mind’s eye and solve the worlds’ food and water supply problems.

Google is understood to be finishing up a prototype for wearable computers that use HUD display technology to provide users with information from Google’s cloud services and location-based GPS to inform users of their immediate surroundings via augmented reality.

The glasses come with a small, front-facing camera and all the computing is done wirelessly via the CPU and RAM in your synched smartphone, according to 9to5Google.

It is understood the glasses will use a derivative of Android and one eye on the glasses will provide you with the HUD information, so they won’t be entirely transparent.

Scrolling and clicking will be done by tilting your head, as well as voice commands to manage your computing experience.

Howling at the moon?

In a separate development, the official Google blog revealed some of the blue sky concepts being assembled via X Labs’ Solve for X gatherings which were hosted by chairman Eric Schmidt.

These gatherings seem to take some of the bizarre ideas straight out of science fiction and investigate how they can be made reality one day.

These ideas – moonshots – apparently live in the grey area between audacious projects and pure science fiction. “They are 10x improvement, not 10pc. That’s partly what makes them so exciting,” Google explained.

Google has assembled a number of the talks from the Solve for X gatherings, including Adrien Treuille, a professor of computer science and robotics at Carnegie Mellon University discussing EteRNA and Foldit, scientific discovery games where individual gamers are lapping the best computer programmes in DNA folding and RNA nano-fabrication problems.

In another talk, Rob McGinnis, co-founder of Oasys, suggests that fresh water could be produced everywhere in the world at less than one-tenth the energy input or cost to the environment of what’s possible today.

Mary Lou Jepsen’s Solve for X talk is on how it may literally be possible to take pictures of the mind’s eye, which could have a staggering impact on how we communicate, preserve memories and understand ourselves.

Daphne Preuss, a leading geneticist who moved from academia to pursue plant genetics in order to help make the planet healthier and find ways to feed more people, also provides her vision in Google’s Solve for X collection of moonshots.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years