Move aside, Google: Oakley has been Testing Augmented Reality Glasses for 15 years!

Move aside, Google: Oakley has been Testing Augmented Reality Glasses for 15 years!

Google may have made headlines with its Project Glass augmented reality glasses project. But Oakley wants you to know that it’s making a pair, too — and has been since 1997.

The world of augmented reality glasses is about to get a little more crowded. Just two weeks after Google unveiled its Project Glass AR glasses project to the world, sunglasses maker Oakley has revealed that it, too, is developing technology to display information on a pair of specs. In fact, it has been working on this effort for the past 15 years.

“As an organization, we’ve been chasing this beast since 1997,” said Colin Baden, Oakley CEO, in an interview with Bloomberg. “Ultimately, everything happens through your eyes, and the closer we can bring it to your eyes, the quicker the consumer is going to adopt the platform.”

While Baden is light on technical details about the pre-production AR glasses, he says that Oakley will likely target the athletic market first, and then expand from there. Unfortunately, he also says that there is a high “technology barrier to success” with AR glasses, because of the complications of getting the optics right. So it appears unlikely that we’ll see a consumer product of this type from Oakley anytime soon. In fact, we’d wager that the only reason Oakley is talking about this now is because of the splash Google made with Project Glass — not because there’s an imminent product launch.

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