Google X (Google's futuristic technology development lab) has pulled back the curtain on Project Glass, its program to develop truly useful augmented reality "Google glasses." Project Glass aims to design and refine augmented reality technology to help a user explore and share their world armed with a wealth of relevant information - not at their fingertips, but rather at the end of their nose.

Augmented reality describes a view of the real world that includes superimposed graphics. Instead of interrupting your activities to use a smartphone to search for information - get directions, remain in touch, find out if an item is on sale, translate a tourist's note evaluating a restaurant, and the like - Google's Project Glass intends to provide glasses with real-time heads-up displays and intelligent personal assistant software to enable a seamless user experience.

"We think technology should work for you - to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don't. A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment," says a post signed by the three Google X team leaders, Babak Parviz, Steve Lee, and Sebastian Thrun. Parviz has experience working on contact lenses embedded with electronics, including one designed to monitor blood sugar levels - although AR contact lenses are probably still a little ways off yet.

In February 2012, the New York Times reported "the glasses [could] go on sale to the public by the end of the year." This seems a little ambitious, with the team needing to overcome a number of technical problems, from cost and adequate battery life to speed, network, software, and graphics performance. However, the video below gives an idea of the direction Google hopes to take the technology in.

Source: Google X