Google Glass to get ‘Indirect Bone Conduction’ speaker

Google’s Project Glass sounds exciting, doesn’t it? However, before something like this ever makes it to the market, there are many ‘small’ things than need to be taken care of – otherwise the company’s wearable computer-inside-glasses might be relegated to ‘geek toy and nothing else’ status forever.

One such thing is sound. More specifically, how exactly sounds from Glass will reach you. And if you were thinking something along the lines of ‘headphones of some sort’ (even in-ear ones) connected to the glasses with a cable – you’d be very wrong. Such a solution apparently wasn’t elegant enough for Google.

The search giant wants to use bone conduction to deliver sounds to you. More specifically, there will be an element inside Google Glass that will vibrate the frame of the glasses. The frame will then ‘transport’ that vibration to your bones, which will provide the much-needed connection to your inner ear.

Google Glass bone conduction

Bone-conducting headphones are nothing new, but Google’s method is being referred to as ‘indirect’. That’s because there isn’t a ‘vibration transducer’ directly vibrating on your bones. Instead, this cleverly uses the frame of the glasses to act as a transport mechanism for the vibration. That frame is ‘coupled’ to your bones anyway, so you can see why this sounds like a neat idea.

The vibrations may ‘reach’ your bones in a number of different places: behind one of your ears, on or above your nose, near one of your temples, or near one of your eyebrows. Where exactly may depend on your particular physical traits, and how they may help or obstruct the vibrations on their way to your bones. Alternatively, this could be a setting in Google Glass, or the company may just decide to use one (or more, or even all) of these areas when the product gets commercialized.

As you may have gathered, Google has filed for a patent on this technology. This happened in October of 2011, and the application was made public today. The date of that filing shows us how long Google’s been working on Glass, by the way. The company seems dead serious about making a real dent in the still-unborn wearable computing space.

And this ‘indirect bone conduction’ method for relaying sound to a Glass user might just help Google’s efforts on the matter.


Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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  • nicopretorius

    Looking forward to this technology, could be the next game changer!