The next iteration of Google Glass could get a whole new look. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Google a patent on Nov. 24 for a “wearable device with input and output structures” that could be Glass’ redesign. An illustration in the patent, above, shows a snake-like device that only occupies one side of the face. It looks like it rests on one ear, and the display extends to the front, hovering above the eye. The patent says the band is adjustable for each user and can maintain that configuration for later use. “The device also includes image generating means within the band for generating an image presentable to the user on the display,” the patent says.
Google Glass created a frenzy in the tech world after its limited launch in April 2013 followed by a launch to the public in May 2014. But it was discontinued for consumers in January this year. Since then, it was renamed to Project Aura to revive the Glass project. The Wall Street Journal reported in July that Google has been quietly delivering a new generation of Glass to businesses. The Information also reported earlier this month that there have been a few versions of a head-mounted device in development. One version is targeted for enterprises and has a screen, and the other is for “sport” users.
It’s unclear, however, whether the patent is for any of these prototypes. And like many patents, it’s possible the device illustrated won’t ever come to fruition. The patent was filed in September 2012, way before the initial launch of Glass. But with Glass, many people didn’t like how intrusive it was on the wearer, in addition to privacy concerns. If Glass is redesigned to look less prominent, it might find more traction with consumers.