Valve researching “wearable computing” for “everywhere, all the time”

By Stephany Nunneley, Saturday, 14 April 2012 14:03 GMT

A blog post from Valve’s Michael Abrash details one of his R&D concepts in the works which he describes as “wearable computing.”

The concept is to have a computer small enough that you can have it on your person at all times, like for instance: your sunglasses.

“By wearable computing, I mean mobile computing where both computer-generated graphics and the real world are seamlessly overlaid in your view; there is no separate display that you hold in your hands (think Terminator vision),” Abrash wrote. “The underlying trend as we’ve gone from desktops through laptops and notebooks to tablets is one of having computing available in more places, more of the time.

“The logical endpoint is computing everywhere, all the time – that is, wearable computing – and I have no doubt that 20 years from now that will be standard, probably through glasses or contacts, but for all I know through some kind of more direct neural connection. And I’m pretty confident that platform shift will happen a lot sooner than 20 years – almost certainly within 10, but quite likely as little as 3-5, because the key areas – input, processing/power/size, and output – that need to evolve to enable wearable computing are shaping up nicely, although there’s a lot still to be figured out.”

The project is still quite early in the R&D phase, and “doesn’t in any way involve a product at this point, and won’t for a long while,” if even ever.

“Please, no rumors about Steam glasses being announced at E3,” said Abrash. “It’s an initial investigation into a very interesting and promising space, and falls more under the heading of research than development.

“The Valve approach is to do experiments and see what we learn – failure is fine, just so long as we can identify failure quickly, learn from it, and move on – and then apply it to the next experiment.”

You can read the entire blog post through here, where Abrash also goes into a bit of detail on how thinks work at Valve, as well as some background information on himself as well.

Earlier this week it was revealed Valve was hiring hardware engineers and the Internet was agog trying to guess what the firm could be working on.

Yesterday, a report from Apple Insider claimed Apple CEO Tim Cook had paid a visit to the Seattle firm, which added more fuel to the speculation fire.

However, Abrash’s blog never stated whether the firm was hiring for his project or not, and Valve is surely working on other things as well, so one likely has nothing to do with the other. At least, for now.

Thanks, someguy2.

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Michael Abrash

Wearable Computing