Google recently revealed that it plans to test its AR (augmented reality) prototypes in public starting in August. The news comes two months after the company initially revealed the device in a teaser at the Google I/O 2022. Additionally, previous reports state that Google plans to ship the “Project Iris” AR headset in 2024.
AR prototypes testing in the real-world
A Google support page states that the company will test a “small number” of AR prototypes in select areas of the US. In addition, there will be “strict limitations on where testers can operate, and the kinds of activities they can engage in.” Also, testers will have to undergo “device, protocol, privacy, and safety training.”
Furthermore, Google warned that the AR prototypes would look similar to regular glasses. However, they will have an in-lens display, microphone, and camera. In addition, an LED indicator on the prototype will enable people nearby to recognize if an image data is being saved for “analysis and debugging.” Thus, they can request the tester to delete them.
Moreover, Google intends to explore speech transcription and translation, visual sensing scenarios like translation text, or helping with navigation. Additionally, the company claims that the AR prototypes do not support photography or videography. So, any image data captured during testing will be automatically deleted unless it’s used for further analysis or debugging. “They will first scrub the image data for sensitive content, including faces and license plates,” says Google. Then, they will store it on a secure server. And only a few Googlers will have access to this server for analysis and debugging. Then, after 30 days, they will delete the image data.
The company lists the transcription, navigation, and translation features in testing. And at Google I/O, it previewed glasses showing language translated right before a wearer’s eyes. So, maybe Google intended to avoid repeating the Glass headset failure by announcing these tests beforehand and describing what they will involve.
Google’s Juston Payne stated in a blog post that real-world testing of the AR prototypes would help them “better understand” how these devices can help people daily. He added, “And as we develop experiences like AR navigation, it will help us take factors such as weather and busy intersections into account — which can be difficult, sometimes impossible, to recreate indoors fully.”