It seems that Baidu’s April 1st announcement that it was working on a Google Glass rival called ‘Eye’ was not a prank after all. The Chinese search giant has revealed a working prototype of a mobile assistant with a notable omission…it doesn’t feature a screen.
Baidu Eye functions more as an augmented camera than a pair of glasses. Wth no screen the device analyses information around the user.
The headset was put on display at Baidu World, the company’s annual showcase event in Beijing.
View the from of the device in this CNN tweet below:
— Kristie Lu Stout CNN (@klustout) September 3, 2014
Baidu’s director of international communications, Kaiser Kuo, said: “Basically, Baidu Eye allows the user to analyse images and provide information or services related to your current field of vision or a specific item. You can use voice commands, or gesture commands – like expanding to zoom, or circling an object in your field of view with your finger. You can identify plants, or find products – so far, handbags and articles of clothing – on ecommerce sites.”
Baidu is planning to integrate Eye with social networks and gaming, as well as hands-free activities like taking photos and videos or answering calls.
There are plans to introduce resources to let developers create apps and supported services for Eye, but Baidu hasn’t said when they will be released.
Explaining the choice of no screen, Kuo explains: “We found that screens impair vision and tire your eyes easily. Instead, we tether it to a smartphone app, so you can receive information on your phone screen (or your tablet, or another device) which is larger and easier to browse on than a small, head-mounted screen. It also uses much less energy, and the battery lasts much longer. Its design is very light in the front, and of course people who wear eyeglasses can use it easily.”