On August 21, Google was granted a patent called "Seeing with your hand." It describes a glove packed with electronics including cameras on the fingertips, a compass, gyroscopes, accelerometers and other motion detectors embedded in the fingers. The palm section plays host to the CPU, RAM and local storage, and wireless communication chips are mounted on the backside.
Dubbed as Google Smart Glove, the invention is designed to offer users with a wide variety of high-tech services. The cameras could be used to acquire a highly-magnified view of the world around them while the sensors would be the centerpiece to applications similar to what we use on smartphones like navigation. The wireless aspect could leech information from local open networks, satellites, or provide communication between a pair of Smart Gloves.
"In an embodiment, a glove is provided that may include a detector positioned on a fingertip of the glove," the patent reads. "The detector may be configured to record a series of images of an environment. The glove may additionally include a processor configured to determine at least one predetermined motion of the detector by comparing at least two images in the series of images and, based on the at least one predetermined motion, select at least one function from a plurality of functions. Additionally, the glove may include an output interface configured to trigger the at least one function."
It's possible this patent will be tied with Google Glass, the company's set of augmented reality specs, so that users can interact with the virtual world they're already seeing. Theoretically users could control virtual interfaces through gestures with the Gloves, allowing them to wave, flick a finger or perhaps even touch a particular surface similar to the fictional technology seen in Minority Report.
If connected to Google Glass, the Gloves may allow a user to pull up a virtual keyboard by clenching a fist, and then start typing. A billboard displayed too far away could be zoomed in via Glass by simply pinching with the Gloves. Reading a book via the Kindle app? Merely swipe a hand. Of course, these are just theories and not expressed in the patent.
"In another embodiment, a wearable device is provided that may include a detector configured to record a first series of images of an environment," it reads. "The wearable device may also include and a processor configured to stabilize the first series of images to produce a first stabilized series of images, determine at least one predetermined motion of the detector by comparing at least two images in the first stabilized series of images, and, based on the at least one predetermined motion, select a first at least one function from a plurality of functions. The wearable device may additionally include an output interface configured to transmit an output based at least in part on the first at least one function."
The good news about Google's invention is that it's a granted patent, and not a patent application. The bad news is that it's just a patent, and as far as we know, not an actual physical project. Still, there's a good chance Google has a prototype already built, but integration with Google Glass may be years away.