Get ready to hear the soft voice of your AI assistant cooing right into your ear, wherever you are. The Financial Times reports ($) that Amazon is building a wearable addition to its AI assistant range in the form of smart spectacles.
Developed by ex-Google Glass lead Babak Parviz, the device would apparently ditch the camera and screen that have been a focal point of other smart glasses. Instead, Amazon's effort would provide an ever-present Alexa by syncing with a nearby smartphone and using bone-conduction audio so users don’t need to wear headphones. The newspaper says that they could be launched by the end of the year.
Amazon wouldn't be the first to consider covering your face in technology as you go about your daily life. Google's infamous Project Glass tried and prominently failed to make such an idea work, almost certainly because it was far ahead of its time. Apple has been rumored to be developing its own augmented reality specs. And Snap made a silly-fun pair of life-logging glasses, too.
But the development of Alexa specs could be a smart move for Amazon on a few levels. First, it would sidestep some of the battery-life limitations that cameras and screens place on wearable hardware. Second, it would allow it to put Alexa in the wild and not just the home, which is something that Siri and Assistant already do for Apple and Google by virtue of their presence on smartphones.
Of course, Amazon's mobile hardware history is a little spotty: its Kindle range is unstoppable, but its own smartphone flopped hard. Still, if it can crack the making of its own specs, their arrival could further cement AI butler technology as the primary way we interact with our machines—a future we think may be inevitable.