DIY Project Glass makes Google's AR vision real

Google may be saying Project Glass is still "years away" but that hasn't stopped DIY versions of the AR headset by others inspired by the eye-catching demo video. Now, we've seen plenty of ironic parodies of Google's wearables – including what might happen if Microsoft waded in – but augmented reality developer Will Powell actually took the time to make a functional version, using a pair of Vuzix glasses, a custom-crafted UI, and Dragon Naturally Speaking for voice recognition. Check out the demo video after the cut.

Powell based his interface design on what Google showed in its original Project Glass video, using Adobe AIR to put it all together. Thanks to the Vuzix head-up display, a microphone headset and Microsoft HD webcams, it's possible to give the system spoken instructions to check schedule, the weather, and even take photos for sharing on Google+.

Yahoo!'s local weather data is used, and it's possible to create appointments all by speech command. Unlike Google's system, though, the information isn't being floated over a real-world view: instead, the two webcams send a live video feed to the glasses, with the augmented reality data added on top. Two cameras mean stereoscopic 3D vision, just as if the glasses were transparent.

Powell hasn't said what's actually running the system, though our guess is that it's not going to be as portable as Google is hoping to make Project Glass. Still, it could probably be run from a computer – or maybe even an AIR-capable smartphone – in a rucksack, as Google's prototypes are believed to rely upon.

The developer is partly responsible for CEO Vision, a prototype AR system which uses image recognition, face tracking and recognition, and Kinect-controlled motion gestures to navigate through virtual 3D graphics and charts:

Although Project Glass doesn't have a release date attached, there's plenty of movement in the augmented reality industry. We're expecting to see the first commercial devices show up in 2013, with pricing beginning from an impressive $200 depending on feature-set and purpose.