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Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) preview of Project Glass at its developers’ conference last week had been spectacular, featuring a skydiving crew, cyclists who rode across the roof, and a climber who repelled down the venue building, all while giving attendees access to the daredevils’ point of view. But the highly talked-about device, which Google says won’t be ready to launch for the public before 2014, may already have some competition from the company’s biggest current rival.
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Earlier this week, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was awarded a U.S. patent for a head-mounted display device designed to project an image in front of a user’s eyes, exactly the principle of Google’s Glass. Apple’s patent application said the device would be able to create an “enhanced viewing experience” by focusing on “augmented reality”.
Apple’s patent application, first filed way back in 2006, said the “head-mounted display” device will be designed to present video information in front of a user’s eyes. It could have one or two small displays, which could be embedded in a helmet, a pair of glasses, or a visor. The two displays will allow for 3-D images, and the device will also have a processor, memory, and a user interface.
“Some examples include applications in surgery, where radiographic data, such as CAT scans or MRI imaging can be combined with the surgeon’s vision,” the Apple document read. “Military, police and firefighters use HMDs [head-mounted display] to display relevant tactical information, such as maps or thermal imaging data. Consumer devices are also available for use in gaming and entertainment applications.”
Google’s device is also expected to include a processor, a GPS sensor, a camera, microphone, and a speaker. The company says it will be designed in a way that the wearer’s vision is not impeded. Google received a patent for the technology in June, with the application specific to a wearable display with an integrated finger-tracking input sensor.
Of course, Apple is yet to talk about any plans for a competing device. Google, though, will have to keep watching its back.
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