Look out, Google, Oakley's developing its own smart glasses

After Google shows off its Project Glass prototype, reports of Oakley's efforts arrive

Google might want to use its new smart glasses prototype to look over its shoulder.

Oakley Inc., a California company known for its sports equipment, sunglasses and ski goggles, is developing glasses that use smartphone features and project information directly onto the lenses. The news comes from a Bloomberg report based on an interview with Oakley CEO Colin Baden.

"As an organization, we've been chasing this beast since 1997," Baden is quoted as saying. "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."

Oakley did not respond to a request for information before deadline.

According to Bloomberg, Baden said the company is initially focusing on smart glasses for athletes and the military.

"Obviously, you can think of many applications in the competitive field of sports," Baden said. "That's the halo point of where we would begin, but certainly you can transcend that into a variety of other applications."

This news from Oakley comes on the heels of Google's taking the wraps off its smart-glasses project earlier this month.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin was even spotted wearing a pair while out to dinner. Brin also reportedly told technology blogger Robert Scoble that the glasses are months, if not years, away from being market-ready.

Reports of the Android-based glasses, which resemble Oakley's Thump glasses, first appeared in February. The glasses are expected to be priced between $250 and $600, and would include 3G or 4G data connections along with motion and GPS sensors.

Google's glasses also will have a small screen that will sit a few inches from a user's eyes, along with a camera, microphone and speakers.

Called Project Glass, Google also released a concept video demonstrating how the glasses might work.

The glasses use smartphone-like features. For example, the glasses are designed to schedule meetings, take photos, check the weather, get directions and place a video call.

The information appears in the user's field of vision, and the glasses can be controlled by voice.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

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