Update: Since this story was first published last week, a representative for the Georgia Institute of Technology has been in touch to say: "Thad is working on in-ear wearables. But he does so for Georgia Tech with United Sciences."
"This will get plenty of attention when the project is ready for prime time. I don't want people thinking it's a Google idea. The concept came from academia and is being developed by academia, not industry."
Google looks set to get in on the hearables action and is apparently working on an in-ear wearable that will work in combination with its Google Glass augmented reality headset.
That's what we've been told by Andy Mathes, who is EVP of Business Development at United Sciences. The Atlanta based company specialises in accurate 3D scanning of the ear to create custom fit devices such as hearing aids, and the kind of in-ear monitors musicians wear on stage.
Essential reading: The future of hearables
According to Mathes, Google is already looking at bringing technology to the ear with the help of a United Sciences brand ambassador Thad Starner. If you're not familiar with the name, Starner is known in the industry as a wearable pioneer and is considered to be the inventor of Google Glass. He apparently took the idea to Larry Page and Sergey Brin pitching the concept of an augmented reality headset and worked in the Google X Lab responsible for the failed first effort.
Speaking to Wareable, Mathes told us, "He's (Thad) working with Google still on some kind of in-ear wearable and Glass combination. They're very keen on the ear."
While Mathes didn't elaborate on what or how that hearable would work with Glass, he's not surprised by the fact Google is looking at little closer at the ear calling it a "physiological playground".
The revelation comes at a time when Google appears to be preparing its next move with wearables. This week it revealed the logo for Project Aura, the project that's seen as the successor to Glass. At the end of last year, images of its Google Glass Enterprise Edition also surfaced, which suggests it won't be too long before we see what's next.
There has also been talk of two non-Glass Project Aura devices making an appearance in 2016, with a stronger focus on audio. One apparently uses bone conduction speaker technology, while a sport edition is being built for fitness tracking.
We tipped hearables to be a major talking point in 2016 in our Wareable 50 watch list. This year, we've already seen the official launch of Bragi Dash and Doppler Labs' Here Active listening earbuds are beginning to make their presence felt including turning up at Coachella this year. It's going to be big, we can feel it...
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