Google glasses that overlay the internet on daily lives should hit the market within two years.
This image released by Google shows eyewear that meshes the online world with the real world. AFP/Google
Google co-founder Sergey Brin gave the estimated timeline after a project update that included sky divers dropping in with a new version of Glass wearable computers.
"I'm so glad that worked," Brin quipped after sky divers wearing Google glasses streamed live video during their jump from an airplane to the roof of the San Francisco convention center.
"I wasn't really expecting it to."
The sky divers handed off a package to cyclists, who performed stunts as they rode to the edge of the Moscone Center where they handed it off to a man who rappelled down the outside of the building to the third floor.
Another cyclist whisked the cargo the final length of its trip to a stage where Brin and other Google executives were kicking off the California-based company's annual developers conference.
Brin opened the package to show an Explorer edition of Google Glass that developers could buy for $1,500 to become the first people outside the company to shape the creation during its evolution to market.
Explorer edition glasses should ship early next year, and a version should be ready for the consumer market within a year after that, Brin said.
"Google Glass Explorer edition will be rough around the edges; you have to be into being on the bleeding edge," Brin said of the effort to build a community of developers passionate about taking part in the project.
"This is really new technology and we really want all of you to help shape it."
Google Glass eyewear features built-in camera, microphone and speaker technology and can synch to the internet using wireless Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections.
As with the sky divers, cyclists, and wall-walkers who took part in the keynote stunt, video through the eyes of wearers can be streamed live on Google's social network.
Mini-screens in the glasses can display text messages, email or other digitized information from the internet or mobile gadgets.
"It was kind of a nutty idea that somehow became real," Brin said while discussing Glass after the keynote presentation.
"The notion that you could jump out of an air ship with it and still communicate your experience makes holding a smartphone or laptop seem pretty damn awkward," he continued.
"It's about you being less of a slave to your device; it has been really liberating."
Brin said that he wears a prototype pair of Google glasses much of the time as he and other members of the team he heads at the company's X Lab refine the technology.