back to article Google files patent for eyewear that SHOOTS LASERS

Google has filed a patent for mounting twin lasers on the sides of a pair of glasses to display a keyboard on a user's body parts and use a camera to track a hand's gestures for control. "A pattern for a virtual input device can be projected onto a 'display hand' of a user, and the camera may be able to detect when the user …


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  1. sisk

    the hardware could be a mugging magnet.

    Doubtful. The potential mugger would have to know what they were for them to be attracted by them. Given that most (not all, admittedly) low rent criminals like muggers tend to be on the lower end of the intelligence scale I would find it unlikely that many of them pay enough attention to technology to identify them or know what they cost.

    1. Cubical Drone

      Especially if you kicked up the power and weaponized those babies!!

    2. Ignazio


      If they can make money from them, they'll learn exceptionally fast.

    3. LarsG

      Prior Art, you will probably find that Apple have got that one in their bottom draw.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Google goggle grabbing

      You'd have nothing at all if you stole the glasses. They're powered by a large fanny pack, a cellphone connection, and a Google account. Then there's also the matter of them being more creepy than functional. The Google drones walking around Mountain View with them are a nerdly spectacle of curiosity rather than a source of envy.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Google goggle grabbing

        They're powered by a large fanny pack

        Well, that's all the Brits hereabouts reduced to hysterical laughter.....

    5. miknik

      Mugging deterrent more like

      Once the nasty man on the tube sees you shooting laser beams out of your eyes he is going to run a mile. Pretty sure Clark Kent could do this and that boy kicked ass.

      Kryptonite equipped muggers may be an issue, but if you hang in those circles then you will need to find your own solution, or wait for Specsavers to start doing second pair free.

    6. Semaj

      Also it's not much different to regular glasses. You can spend as much as you've got if you buy designer spec (not that I would even if I could)

  2. Adam 1

    prior art?

    I am pretty sue that shark optometrists have been doing this for years.

  3. Christoph

    Sounds tricky

    It sounds like you have to touch a particular point on the opposite hand while that point is jumping around every time you move your head or that hand, and while the touching hand is blocking the beam.

    I think they are going to have to improve on that somehow before it becomes useable!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds tricky

      I can come up with a better idea in 10 mins. But would require payment from Google. Should I hold out for their call?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds tricky

      Ok, make that 2 better ideas in 5 mins... But I'd not post them here. ;)

      1. Ole Juul

        Re: Sounds tricky

        I already have a better idea . . . and the phone isn't ringing.

    3. snarf

      Re: Sounds tricky

      It sounds like you have to touch a particular point on the opposite hand while that point is jumping around every time you move your head or that hand, and while the touching hand is blocking the beam.

      I would hope that it would be a little more sophisticated than that. I'd imagine the software will be able to recognise and track your hand as it moves relative to the camera.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds tricky

      Two things.

      1) Unless you have Parkinson's, it won't be an issue.

      2) It is less difficult than a sobriety test.

  4. Dave 32


    Ok, so how long until they get rid of the glasses and do this with contact lenses? (Ohoh, did I just ruin someone's patent application?) ;-)

    Umm, when are they going to mount them on sharks? (You knew that someone was going to ask that question, didn't y'all?)

    As for the screen burn-in problems, that's mostly to do with sputtering of the electrodes by the electron/ion current in a plasma display (And, there was a similar burn-in problem for certain monochrome CRTs, caused by the electron beam, for a static image, burning the phosphor coating.). That shouldn't be a problem for lasers, at least as long as they don't go with an ultraviolet laser, which could cause some burn issues (Ohoh, did I just ruin someone else's patent application?).

    Or, use a ultraviolet laser, and paint a phosphorescent strip on your arm, allowing the laser to make the phosphorescent area glow/fluoresce, seemingly by magic. Perhaps image this with a optically filtered camera (on the other side of the glasses?) to perform the detection. (Ohoh, another idea publicly disclosed?).

    Oh, yeah, don't forget that most laundry detergents include a "whitening"/"brightening" agent, left behind after the wash cycle is complete, which is actually a fluorescent material.


    P.S. I'll get my coat. It's the one with the optical brightening agent on it.

    1. Daniel Evans

      Re: Lasers

      Do reliable, cheap UV lasers exist? I thought anything much beyond green was a bit of a pain to get working.

      1. Peter Murphy

        Reliable, cheap lasers.

        Wicked Lasers sell lasers as a consumer product in various colours, including blue in its "Arctic" range. It's pretty powerful, at 1.25 W: it's enough to burn your retinas (or objects across the room).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds totally useless and cumbersome.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      I think people said the same about Tablet computers too.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        I still say the same about tablet computers.

  6. stucs201

    Didn't think I'd ever say this - but why bother with lasers?

    These are augmented reality glasses. Just show the keyboard via the existing display facilities in such a way that it appears where your hand is. Less power required, less weight, less risk of annoying everyone if the hand recognition gets confused and doesn't shut off the laser when walking around.

    1. ratfox

      Re: Didn't think I'd ever say this - but why bother with lasers?

      These are not augmented reality glasses (or at least, the current Google glasses are not). They only display an image on a small part of your vision.

      1. Kris

        Re: Didn't think I'd ever say this - but why bother with lasers?

        augmenting part of your visual area is still "augmented reality glasses" ...........

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. mickey mouse the fith

    Sod that, wake me up when........

    What about using an array of lasers to project an image directly onto the retina?, proper argumented/virtual reality. I suppose you could use 3 beams (rgb) and have them track across and down the retina at a high enough rate that persistence of vision enables a full frame to be percieved. Have the tracking complete a full top/bottom scan in 60ms and the jobs a good un.

    Imagine looking out on a rendered world rather than looking at a screen displaying a rendered world, it would be aces.

    hmm, i wonder if a small projector could mimic the effect?

    1. g e

      Re: Sod that, wake me up when........

      Already done quite a few years ago actually, IIRC, Virtual Retinal Display

    2. johnB

      Re: Sod that, wake me up when........

      Can't see many sales for a device that shone lasers into the eye. Bit of a tricky thing to sell?

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Sod that, wake me up when........

        LASIK/LASEK etc seem to sell reasonably well.

        Though I see your point!

    3. Haku

      Re: Sod that, wake me up when........

      Even the DIYers have already done this, using an off-the-shelf Microvision ShowWX pico projector which uses red, green & blue lasers to create the image by scanning line-by-line like a CRT. Though they put a strong filter on it so you don't get blinded by the lasers shining directly onto your retina:

      1. mickey mouse the fith

        Re: Sod that, wake me up when........

        I ment when they can do it properly, all those systems mentioned either dont fully encompass the visual field or are wildly impractical/dangerous.

        I dont want a display appearing to hover in front of me either, i want total visual immersion.

        From the hackaday article....

        "[Nirav]‘s build isn’t without its drawbacks, though. The exit pupil, or the apparent size of the image, is only about 1.5 mm wide and much too small to be of any real use."

        Im glad people are working on this though, hopefully someone will suss it out before i die.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Sod that, wake me up when........

          I suspect the problem is that the human eye is not a camera.

          The image you see is not the image captured by the retina, it's a composite generated in your brain that's made up from the data of many retinal images* - sort of like the massive mosaics NASA release

          To make it more complicated, the retina has extremely variable resolution - in both colour and space!

          - high spacial, but no blue at the fontema, lower as you get further away.

          *Except that's wrong as well, but closer!

  9. John H Woods Silver badge

    Was excited because I misread the headline...

    ... thought it said "...shoots lawyers"

    1. Archimedes_Circle

      Re: Was excited because I misread the headline...

      Thats the lawyer gom jabbor test. If they file the patent for the device, they fail the self preservation test.

      Actually, would filing it prevent cheap knock offs, actually reducing the supply available to the public?

  10. Magani
    Paris Hilton

    Why did the first thing to go through my mind after reading...

    "...display a keyboard on a user's body parts..."

    ... was the idea of them being projected onto Bulgarian Air Bags.

    Icon for obvious reasons.

  11. JaitcH

    Apple will along soon ...

    filing a patent for the same thing BUT using the left eye.

  12. johnnymotel

    prior art?

    1. Haku

      Re: prior art?

      Microsoft has been at it too - Skinput - look at this video from 2010 demonstrating a numeric keypad projected onto your hand where all the 'buttons' can be 'pressed':

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A slight tweak..?

    Instead of projecting onto a body part, how about projecting the keyboard onto an ATM or chip & pin machine?

    If there was a way of allowing the glasses and other device to link together, and allow the order of the numbers to be scrambled, but both devices know where the numbers are, then even if someone sees you type in your pin and gets hold of your glasses, the numbers will be in a different position to the last time you typed your pin.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A slight tweak..?

      That would mess up everybody who remembers the number by pattern.

  14. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    The last sentence of the article worries me...

    "The patent has yet to be approved, but if Google can come up with a working prototype the results could be very interesting indeed."

    If you dont have a working prototype you should never be allowed to patent something!

    Otherwise I am now patenting the invisible coffee machine that fills your mouth with coffee (at desired temperature and pressure) based on your thoughts. I dont have a working prototype yet but that shouldnt be a problem, should it?

    1. Mr Spigot

      Re: The last sentence of the article worries me...

      Agreed - this may work but only with a lot of development and attention to detail. So if Google fail then my start up gets it working I have to pay them? I don't think so. A half baked idea shouldn't be patentable.

      Patents aside, Google should stop wasting time with glasses. My experience is that you don't want to be wearing glasses unless you really have to. I'd much rather carry a smartphone than wear glasses.

  15. nuclearstar


    "hey look I am sharing my veiw with friends over the internet on my glasses cam, look at this plane overhead, omg my eye lzers have just blinded the pilot and its crashing, atleast I caught it on camera"

    Why do they even need lazers? Why not just get the glasses to map the users hand, and then display the keyboard on the glasses themselves using augmented reality, would be no need to even have lazers then and no risk of blinding someone

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Didn't Joe 90 have these?

    If so, cheques payable to:

    Gerry Anderson estate

    Tracy Island


  17. graeme leggett Silver badge


    You are socialising after work and wearing your subtle laser-wielding glasses and meet a person (of either gender) who you find interesting and attractive.

    "Can I have your number?", you say.

    "Yes", they say - because they do mean it," its 07771 1231456"

    "I'll just put that in my phone" you say (and think "this will wow them - or not")

    Laser on, tappy tappy on your sleeve.

    "was that 1456? or just 456?" you say looking up at them.

    "My eyes!", they yell, as the half-finished input is projected directly onto their retina.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scenario

      Any fool knows, the number is: 0118 999 881 999 119 7253

  18. CyberCod

    Old hat, but not Apple

    Ted Talk about Six Sense tech does this very thing, 'cept the projecting device is on a lanyard around the neck.

    Check it out... real cool stuff.

  19. CyberCod

    Now just put a pair of these on a shark and...

  20. rurwin

    Resistance is futile; you will be assimilated.

  21. Great Bu

    Still dissapointed.....

    I know that several attempts have been made in the past but why has no-one yet come up with a decent wearable wrist computer thing (like Leela has in Futurama* - ) ?

    We have flexible screens, flexible batteries and plenty of interconnectivity tech so you could have a small screen normally that acts like a 'smart watch' with a ~4" display that then folds out to a bigger display when needed for surfing / watching video / etc, it could be a phone (either with a BT headset or, cooler still, you hold up your hand to your ear in the universal 'phone' gesture to use.....) and whatever else you need in a tabletty / ereader stylee (maybe the 4" 'outer' screen is colour e-ink and you open a folded proper OLED display to use the more graphics intensive apps). You could even have a slide out real keyboard at the lower edge of the screen.

    The whole thing wrist mounted onto a spandex band and waterproof so you wear it everywhere under your sleeve, it could even monitor vital signs, recharge from vigorous wrist movement** and silently signal the wearer by squeezing their arm.

    BTW - Reg posts count as patent applications, don't they ?

    *Futurama is a documentary, right ?

    **Yes, you did read that right. You read it, you can't un-read it.

  22. daveeff
    Paris Hilton


    Why project a laser image when you could just use the glasses to augment reality and display the keyboard HUD like?

    Unless you need someone else to to share the keyboard.

    Might be useful to draw a big pyramid round you while you violin bow the guitar...

  23. ecofeco Silver badge

    Yes, but will they fit on a shark?

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