Dyson turns 21, celebrates birthday by showing its version of Google Glass

When people turn 21, they generally throw a party, filled with booze and adult themes that may not be suitable for all audiences. But what happens when companies turn 21?

In the case of Dyson, the engineers have decided to release the secrets of their products that never quite worked, or did and never made it out for purchase by consumers. Perhaps they were partying when they made the call. We’ll never know (we do know because we asked, and it has nothing to do with partying, and is just a way of showing how much research the company does).

One of the projects is particularly interesting, and will grab the attention of anyone keen to take Google Glass around, the augmented reality project that lets you wear the web on your head.

Long before Google produced its concept a few years ago, Dyson made one of its own, starting the project in 2001 with a plan of creating a colour 3D heads-up display that you could wear on your head.

Dyson called it the “Halo,” and while it wasn’t a light-up social media project to tell you who had been good or bad, it was a concept that could create the illusion of a monitor in front of you. This monitor would let you use different applications, with some of the options being web browsing, watching TV, making phone calls, messaging, and even having a virtual assistant to help you out, talking to you using headphones left in your ear.

Control would be handled through a device worn on the wrist, with finger and gesture tracking, and some speech recognition as well.

Three years after starting the project, though, Dyson put it on hold, as the company tried to push more into the American market, though parts of the Halo concept are apparently being used in other research projects by the company.

A few years after this was cancelled, Google showed off its prototype for Google Glass, releasing it to early testers — called “Explorers” — just last year in 2013.

We checked out Google Glass last year, and while it’s an expensive piece of kit ($1500 USD, in fact), it’s the sort of technology that we can imagine being useful for people who can’t live without the online world in their face.

Eventually, we expect to see this technology in a more convenient contact lens, but Google isn’t the only company playing with it, and we’ve heard other companies are investing in the concept, with Epson cited as one such company.

Still, even though the project was canned (sorry, put on hold), it’s good to see that Dyson was thinking along the same lines as Google is currently working with, and hey, given that the research is being used for other projects, it’s possible we’ll see it pop up in a different form from Dyson. One can only hope.