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Major Takeaways:

  • Google is working on commercializing an in-ear wearable computer
  • The in-ear device is being prepared by Project Aura, the same division that is readying a more powerful version of Google Glass for Enterprise
    • Could be unveiled as the next Google I/O developer’s conference in June, along with the next Google Glass version a fitness and music-playing in-ear wearable for consumers and, possibly, its upcoming VR headset
  • Google is working with United Sciences, LLC and the Georgia Institute of Technologies on the in-ear device, according to patent filings and FCC documents
  • Potentially two versions – one for enterprise and another for fitness buffs

From A New Domain’s article:

google hearable human sciences patent app

Google Glass 2 isn’t the only new thing due from Google’s secret Project Aura. A user-customized, in-ear wearable computer is on tap, sources say. [exclusive]

Google is working on commercializing a high-end, custom fit in-ear computer as part of its secretive new Project Aura division, sources close to the company tell a NewDomain.

Project Aura, the same Google wearables division that’s reportedly readying a lighter, more powerful Google Glass product for vertical customers, is planning various hearable devices to work in conjunction with other wearables and for standalone use, they add.

FCC documents, Google patents and patent applications from Google partners United Sciences, LLC and the Georgia Institute of Technologies bear this out. Take a look.

At Georgia Tech laboratories in Atlanta, Google Glass tech lead and wearable pioneer Thad Starner is working with university researchers and United Sciences inventors to adapt their invention of a custom-fit, in-ear computer for commercial usThad Starner Hearable project Project Aurae, sources say. They add that the resulting hearable (or hearables) could be unveiled as soon as the next Google I/O developer’s conference in June, along with the next Google Glass version (FCC id: A4R-GG1) as revealed in FCC documents a few weeks ago, a fitness and music-playing in-ear wearable for consumers and, possibly, its upcoming VR headset.

The product will be based closely on the Georgia Tech/United Sciences invention detailed in the below patent application, sources add, which was published last June by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

The main difference between the planned Google hearable based on the United Sciences design and, say, a hearable like the one Bragi plans has to do with the custom fit technology Human Sciences brings to the table, sources suggest.

Using what the company describes as a quick, 3D ear scanning process, the device would precisely fit the ear canal of its wearer, an innovation that promises to use safer volume levels, lower-power, more accurate biometric sensing for fitness and planned medical applications.

In the application, United Sciences describes its wearable in-ear computer as:

“a wearable computer including an earpiece body manufactured from an image of a user’s ear, the image created from a three dimensional (‘3D’) optical scan of a user’s ear; one or more sensors configured to sense information regarding the user when the wearable computer is worn in the ear; a computer processor and memory operatively coupled to the computer processor; and a wearable computing module stored in memory, the wearable computing module comprising a module of automated computing machinery configured to receive the sensed information and invoke a wearable computing action in dependence upon the sensed information.”

Customizing an in-ear device so it fits tightly into an ear canal amounts to a dramatically improved audio experience, United Sciences execs told reporters attending CES 2016 this year.

Check out the patent application description and images at Scribd.

In addition to the patent application above and its intellectual property around its 3D ear scanner, United Sciences also has an application in the USPTO system describing a user authentication method for its custom earpiece. In theory, this would allow the owner of a Google hearable using the technology to ensure that no one else could put on the system and be able to access personal or company data.