Google shows off prototype AR glasses that translate languages in real-time

Slick-looking specs demoed in impressive video
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Google has teased a return to building smartglasses for the masses after showing off an early prototype of a pair of connected specs at its I/O developer conference opening keynote.

While it didn't share any details around specs about the glasses, it did show off the prototype in a short video, displaying a design that's a distant cry from Google's Glass AR eyewear it tried to break into the mainstream with back in 2012.

Read this: Google Pixel Watch gets teased at Google I/O

The demo showed how the glasses were able to translate and transcribe languages including sign language, in real-time. In the impressive video (which you can see below), Google said it sought to break down language barriers using years of research and the work it's done with Google Translate to bring that technology to glasses.

What we could finally be seeing in this video is the influence of Google's acquisition of North, the startup that launched its own impressive Focals AR glasses. North was in the process of launching its second generation pair of smartglasses with a holographic display when Google swooped in and snapped it up.

Despite being burnt by the consumer edition of Glass, Google continues to pursue what it refers to as the next frontier of computing. It's already demonstrated uses of AR on Android phones through various apps and software and earlier this year it was heavily speculated that Google was building an AR headset codenamed Project Iris.

While Google Glass wasn't a consumer success, it still exists in the enterprise world with Glass Enterprise Edition 2 the latest iteration of the augmented reality eyewear.

Along with Google, Apple and Meta is also investing research time in AR and it seems the race is on to be the first to put genuinely useful augmented reality smarts into a eyewear people will actually want to don in public.

Google didn't offer any indication when these smartglasses might be on faces, so it might be some time yet still before we're travelling around with translating glasses.


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Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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