Oakley smart glasses

It’s pretty much a given that the first wave of augmented reality applications will not be through smartphones’ interfaces, but through glasses that have information overlaid on the display (such as the Google Glasses rumored for release later in 2012).  So, it should come as no surprise that Oakley has been working on this since the late 90s, according to their CEO.  It just goes to show that this really is cutting edge technology…it’s no small feat, though Oakley has made incremental steps in this direction first with their ‘Thump’ glasses that also had an MP3 music player, and also with bluetooth-capable glasses that would stream music from your iPod.  It’s similar to the Apple product design philosophy of slowing incorporating features into your products to learn from that, eventually merging into one awesome product that’s light years ahead of the competition.  A newly awarded patent shows that Oakley is indeed working on adding video capability to their glasses.  They’ve got the bluetooth link worked out.  Battery technology has been a continual learning area for them.  I’d say they’re poised to be a leader in AR glasses soon, though ultimately the hardware will not be what makes or breaks a company…it’s all about the software when it comes to AR.  If they release an API that provides for an easy link between the glasses and smartphones (since they’re the most ubiquitous portable computers), they could have a hit here.

There’s a bit more on this over at Techcrunch , also at Bloomberg, if you’re interested.