Google Glass to include bone conduction sound technology

Posted by Emma Woollacott

More details are emerging of Google Glass, the company's augmented reality display technology, which now looks set to include a bone-conduction speaker.

Rather than incorporating a standard speaker, the glasses will use the vibration of the wearer's skull to transmit sound, a patent application reveals, using a transducer to transmit the vibration indirectly.

The system's designed to give a clearer sound than standard headphones or ear buds, while minimizing the sound leakage that can be so annoying for everyone else around. It also makes it easier for the wearer to hear what's going on around them.

The bone-conduction is also mentioned in a series of documents submitted to the FCC - although details here are sketchy, thanks to concerns about revealing too much to competitors. But the documents also suggest that the glasses will be able to store video files internally.

Data will be sent to the display using 2.4GHz 802.11 b/g Wifi or Bluetooth 4.0HS, using a radio unit from Broadcomm. The glasses can be recharged by plugging a power connector into the computing unit on the glasses' right arm. And they shouldn't fry your brain: the documents indicate that the amount of radio frequency energy absorbed by users is about the same as for an iPhone.

Google is already previewing the headset to some partners, and is expected to release a test edition to developers later this year. The company's already held developer conferences in New York and San Francisco. The final product could be available to consumers next year.