Google’s infamous “Glass” smart eyeglasses flopped spectacularly, but the Mountain View tech giant isn’t giving up on outfitting the public with wearable camera gear.
The company on Feb. 28 received a patent for a baseball cap with a stills-and-video camera mounted on the brim.
Photos and video could be beamed via social media to a users’ friends and even allow for live interaction with another user, the patent indicated.
The hat’s brim would have a receptacle to hold the removable camera. The potential for users to share photos and videos straight from the device would one-up makers of wearable cameras that store imagery for later uploads, the patent suggested.
“Some cameras are designed to be attached to a helmet or another place on a person’s body for capturing video clips of events,” according to the patent. “These cameras typically record and store video clips of an event, and a person can later move the video clips onto a computer.
“The (Google Hat) camera system is configured to connect, via the wireless communications module and a mobile computing device, to a social networking server.”
But the technology is not just about real-time virtual socializing — the hat-mounted camera could save a user from attack, the patent indicated. It would do so by connecting a Google Hat wearer’s video feed to emergency services during a threatening situation, essentially allowing the user to show or tell a possible assailant that they’re on camera.
“The user can activate an emergency situation indicator and cause the wearable camera system to transmit a video feed to an appropriate emergency handling system, potentially deterring a dangerous person near the user,” the patent said.
Although Google Glass floundered to its death in the mass market over privacy concerns (the firm is still pursuing specialized applications for the technology), the Google Hat and another device patented Feb. 28 suggest the company retains faith in a broad market for wearable cameras.
The just-granted patent for a “camera bracelet” provides little more than drawings, but shows a sleek device with a digital display and what appear to be two camera lenses.
Much patented technology never sees the light of day, so there’s no guarantee the Google Hat or camera bracelet will ever be available for sale. However, the volume of personal data these devices could collect would certainly be a boon for Google, whose use of such information for selling targeted ads is the crux of the business model.
Image: The Google Hat, with camera for sending photos and videos to friends, and for personal safety (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)