Isn't it strange that Google is preparing to release its Glass Explorer Edition any day now and we still have no idea what kind of capabilities it'll have? One looming question is this: how the heck do you hear anything with Google Glass? According to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing discovered by Engadget, Google Glass could use bone conduction to send audio directly through the wearer's skull.
The FCC filing reveals Glass could have an "integral vibrating element that provides audio to the user via contact with the user's head." This may be referencing a Google patent that calls for a "wearable computing device with indirect bone-conduction speaker." Why does the FCC filing matter? Well, the FCC is the final hurdle that a gadget needs to get approval from before it can be sold, and thus, it's usually a good source of information for the final stages of unreleased gadgetry.
Bone conduction technology isn't new. We've covered a few products since 2006, and we've blasted every single one for being silly-looking. However, Google might not have any choice but to use bone conduction technology for Glass. Remember, the Google Glass display is designed to be "part of your vision, but not blocking it."The same methodology would apply with bone conduction audio — it would allow you to hear things like notifications or maybe even answer phone calls, but still let you hear ambient sound through your ears.
Whether or not Google can actually squeeze this tech into Google Glass' minuscule form factor is unclear, although it sure looks like a perfect match. Until Google releases Glass to developers in the next few months and to users next year, we won't now for sure what Glass is capable of.