Is there a future for smart wearables that lack a screen? Whether we’re talking smartwatches or headsets like Google Glass, displays are often an integral part of wearable tech, and even when we primarily communicate with a device via voice, we like to get visual output, even if it’s accompanied by a spoken response. But some companies have been experimenting with audio-only devices, and besides the efforts we’ve seen from various startups, some big companies have been experimenting with the tech, like the rumors we’ve heard about Microsoft’s Clip project. In a new report on the evolving state of Google’s search business, we learn about an in-house project for Google’s own take on this idea, one that’s explicitly been designed with a Star Trek combadge in mind.
That’s due to the influence of Google SVP Amit Singhal, a serious Trek fan himself, who helped lead the effort to create this prototype hardware. The clip-on pin you him wearing see above waits for the user to tap it before listening for spoken commands, which it then relays to a connected phone over Bluetooth. That doesn’t put it too far off from the realm of functionality you get with an Android Wear watch, though obviously with a lot more limitations in place.
Google doesn’t sound like it’s particularly serious about making this badge into any sort of commercial device, and this is just something it’s been kicking around in the testing phase to see what the idea can offer.
That said, if the Microsoft Clip really does become a reality, and the public responds favorably to the introduction of “hearables” as a product type, maybe Google just might give this project’s release some real consideration.