Google isn’t the only company with a head-mounted, wearable computer. On Monday, Chinese online publications leaked reports that Baidu is also working on high-tech eyewear similar to Google Glass, along with images of what could be a Baidu employee wearing a prototype. The leak’s unfortunate timing (April Fool’s Day) led many to believe it was nothing but a prank, but a Baidu spokesperson recently revealed that the company is indeed working on a smart eyepiece technology internally referred to as “Baidu Eye.”
For those unfamiliar with the company, Baidu is to China what Google is to the U.S.: it runs the biggest Chinese search engine, has a Androidesque mobile operating system called “Yi,” and it even has a browser that looks like Chrome. And, like Google Glass, Baidu Eye is comprised of an LCD screen mounted on a headset. It features image recognition, voice control, and even bone conduction technology. Sound familiar? That’s because you can also find those features on Google Glass. “What you are doing with your camera, for example, taking a picture of a celebrity and then checking on our database to see if we have a facial image match, you could do the same thing with a wearable visual device,” Kaiser Kuo, Baidu’s Director of International Communications, told Reuters. Unlike Google that has already sold a limited number of Google Glass units, however, Baidu has yet to decide on the fate of its wearable computing device.
According to Kuo, Baidu’s still unsure whether the high-tech eyepiece will ever be released commercially, but they’re putting it through tests within the company. Baidu Eye might not even be its final name, but one thing’s for sure: Google Glass will have some competition in China.