Big Picture isn't the only new thing from Valve, the game publisher also revealed today that it's working on what they think may be the next big thing in games: wearable computing. In an interview with NY Times, Valve revealed its exploring new forms of game hardware and that they're experimenting with augmented-reality glasses. According to Michael Abrash, who's heading the wearable computing effort at Valve, glasses capable of credible augmented-reality games could be three to five years away, while virtual reality glasses could arrive sooner. Valve hasn't decided whether it would make glasses itself though, but they will share the designs freely so other hardware firms can make glasses, too. Full details and some interesting tidbits about how it's like to work at Valve can be read in the NY Times interview.
A DRIVING force behind Valve’s most far-out hardware project, wearable computing, is being led by Michael Abrash, a veteran of technology and game companies who helped Valve get off the ground in the 1990s by licensing its important game software from his employer at the time, Id Software. To Mr. Abrash, glasses that project games in front of players’ eyes are an obvious next step from today’s versions of wearable computers, smartphones and tablets.
While Google’s glasses will display texts and video conferences, Valve has greater technical challenges to overcome with augmented-reality games. It has to figure out how to keep stable an image of a virtual object (say, a billboard) that is meant to be attached to a real-world object (the side of a building) while a player moves around. Otherwise, the illusion would be shattered.
Valve isn't the only company who believes in wearable computing, earlier this year Google showed off its Project Glass, and id Software's John Carmack is also enthusiastic about VR technology.