IMAGE: BAIDU EYE
By Anita Li – Mashable
Chinese Internet giant Baidu publicly unveiled its version of Google Glass for the first time Wednesday.
A working prototype of the wearable tech device, called “Baidu Eye,” was shown at the Baidu World conference in Beijing. First announced in April 2013, Baidu Eye initially drew many comparisons to Google’s head-mounted display.
Unlike Glass, Baidu Eye has no screen or any optical display. Instead, the device looks like a wraparound headset that rests on top of a user’s ears. There is an earpiece on its left arm and a camera on its right arm that takes photos, recognizes objects and analyzes information in its surroundings, according to the company.
Baidu Eye sends information to a user’s mobile device (smartphone or tablet) via an app. In an apparent jab at Google, the company said this method makes it “easier to browse than on a small, mounted screen” and aims to “consume less energy so the battery lasts much longer.”
“Baidu Eye is able to sync information both visually (through smartphone — larger screen, less stress on eyes compared to the small visual display on Google Glass) and aurally,” a spokesperson told Mashable in an email, adding that it provides “the same kind of functionality” as Glass.
The device also features voice and gesture commands, including “expanding to zoom” and “circling an object with your finger,” according to the company.
It can also find products, such as handbags and clothes, on e-commerce sites.
When Baidu first confirmed the device’s existence to Mashable last April, it appeared to have a screen. At the time, Kaiser Kuo, the company’s director of international communications, said Baidu Eye featured speech recognition for Mandarin, as well as image search. Here’s how it looked back then:
In April 2013, Kuo said Baidu was conducting internal testing on the device, and evaluating it to see if it had market potential. Apparently, it did.
Baidu Eye is still in the prototype stage; the company currently has no information on pricing or availability.