Google's long-rumoured wearable heads-up display is taking shape - and it looks nothing like the clunky, all-enclosed headsets you might imagine.
Instead, Google's smart glasses - dubbed Project Glass - look more akin to a pair of designer glasses you might find in a high-end optical store.
"We think technology should work for you - to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don't," said Google employees Babak Parviz, Steve Lee and Sebastian Thrun in a post on the Project Glass Google+ page.
The Android-powered glasses may be the next evolution in the ongoing mobile device race and could one day replace the current generation of smartphones.
The futuristic glasses utilise a transparent display that can project information on top of what the user sees in his or her field of vision.
This augmented reality (AR) view of the world is then combined with other smart technologies such as voice recognition, GPS, optical character and image recognition and a user interface that can be controlled with head or eye gestures.
The glasses are still in the prototype stage but Google is keen to take them out into the real world to see how they function in real-life situations.
Practical applications of the glasses are almost limitless, especially if Google releases an API that would allow developers to create customised apps for the device.
The Google X team, a group that typically works on ground-breaking research projects for Google, has started talking about the glasses in the hope of gaining feedback from the public.
"A group of us from Google X started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment. We're sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input. So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do," said the trio.
Before joining the Google X team Parviz had already started work on futuristic AR lens technologies at the University of Washington in Seattle. Back in 2009, while working as a bio-nanotechnology expert at the university, Parviz spoke to Relaxnews about AR contact lenses that featured integrated LEDs and circuitry.
"We are trying to build a contact lens that can show the user some computer-generated images," explained Parviz at the time. "These images will be superimposed onto what the person would normally see. So a hybrid image is perceived by the person wearing the contact lens."
"Depending on how sophisticated they get, they [AR lenses] may be used in different places," said Parviz.
"If one day lenses with high-resolution graphics are made, the possibilities are boundless."
For now, you can see Google's vision of the future in a video titled "Project Glass: One day..." - Relaxnews 2012