Google has been trying to get a toehold in wearables for years but hasn’t quite found the spot. Recently, however, the company has made a more determined push.
Asimple pair of sunglasses that projects holographic icons. A smartwatch that has a digital screen but analog hands. A temporary tattoo that, when applied to your skin, transforms your body into a living touchpad. A virtual reality controller that lets you pick up objects in digital worlds and feel their weight as you swing them around. Those are some of the projects Google has quietly been developing or funding, according to white papers and demo videos, in an effort to create the next generation of wearable technology devices.
The eyewear and smartwatch projects come from the search giant’s Interaction Lab, an initiative aimed at intertwining digital and physical experiences. It’s part of Google Research, an arm of the search giant with roots in academia that focuses on technical breakthroughs. The Interaction Lab was created within Google’s hardware division in 2015, before it was spun out to join the company’s research arm about two years ago, according to the resume of Alex Olwal, the lab’s leader. Olwal, a senior Google researcher, previously worked at X, the company’s self-described moonshot factory, and ATAP, Google’s experimental hardware branch.
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