Amazon is developing a pair of smart glasses featuring support for its artificial intelligence assistant Alexa, industry sources familiar with the company’s project said earlier this week. The tech giant’s first wearable is supposed to take the form of regular spectacles and not stand out from ordinary eyewear in any way, with Amazon reportedly intending it to be paired with a smartphone using a wireless standard, presumably Bluetooth. The firm’s smart glasses project is said to involve Google Glass creator Babak Parviz who joined the Seattle, Washington-based e-commerce company three years ago. Mr. Parviz isn’t the only former Googler with augmented reality expertise who’s contributing to Amazon’s upcoming product, with some other Google Glass engineers and researchers supposedly also joining the project in recent times.
Amazon’s glasses are thought to ship without a camera and traditional screens, with the company possibly deciding on such a move in an effort to improve the battery life of the device and put some privacy-related concerns to rest, making users unable to secretly record videos of others. Not replacing their lenses with transparent display panels would also mean that Amazon isn’t developing a true augmented reality product, though it remains to be seen whether the tech giant actually opts for such a move, provided that its smart glasses exist. According to industry sources, the device is meant to ship with an audio system relying on bone conduction, allowing users to hear sounds including Alexa’s voice without that same audio being heard by other people and while avoiding traditional earphones.
Another Internet of Things project that the company is presently said to be pursuing is a home security camera which will reportedly launch as a new addition to Amazon’s Echo lineup, insiders previously said, suggesting that the camera will also be compatible with Alexa and be able to connect to the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show smart speakers. The firm’s currently available Echo devices are also believed to be slated for revisions in the near future, possibly by the end of the year. No firm availability windows for the company’s rumored smart camera and glasses have yet been given, though sources claim that at least one of these offerings could also be launched by Amazon in the final quarter of 2017.