SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 17: An attendee tries Google Glass during the Google I/O developer conference on May 17, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Eight members of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus sent a letter to Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page seeking answers to privacy questions and concerns surrounding Google's photo and video-equipped glasses called "Google Glass". The panel wants to know if the high tech eyeware could infringe on the privacy of Americans. Google has been asked to respond to a series of questions by June 14. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A Japanese mobile network operator has launched a rival
for Google Glass intended to help foreigners navigate the country.
At Ceatec, a tech trade show in Tokyo this week, mobile network operator NTT Docomo launched Intelligent Glass, a wearable computer that can provide "nearly instant" translation of written text, according to the New York Times. Intelligent Glass is obviously taking a page from Google's Glass project, a wearable computer that looks like eyewear.
Aside from translations, Intelligent Glass can also recognize faces and store them like "virtual business cards," the Times reported. Docomo also introduced a ring that will turn any surface, such as a table or notepad, into a virtual tablet computer. With Intelligent Glass, the ring will project a screen onto any surface which will read finger movements, just like a computer tablet.
However, Docomo said that it wasn't anywhere near mainstream sales. A spokesman said it hoped to get the product to the public by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Perhaps calling Intelligent Glass a rival to Google Glass is probably more of a coup for NTT Docomo. The company has no intention of rushing this wearable computer into production, and it seems to have a relatively narrow function as a translator. Still, if Docomo can create something like this, it's only a short amount of time before another competitor, who can quickly move from prototype to the sales floor, does.