Baidu, China’s largest search engine, on Wednesday showed off a working prototype of a head-mounted device aimed at consumers called Baidu Eye. Baidu’s new wearable tethers to a smartphone, recognizes voice and gesture commands, and includes an earpiece and camera. Unlike Google Glass, Baidu Eye lacks a screen.
To enable hands-free search, the camera on the right side of Baidu Eye can take photos and recognize objects in them, a feature that can facilitate online shopping. Such a scanner harks back to the Firefly feature on Amazon’s new Fire phone that can pull up information and shopping pages for objects and barcodes it recognizes.
In lieu of a screen, Baidu Eye relays information back to a connected smartphone, an intentional design choice to extend the battery life of the device to about two hours. One of the major complaints about Google Glass is its shoddy battery life–it can run about 45 minutes with continuous recording.
The search company first teased Baidu Eye last spring, and is working with several manufacturers to bring it to market. No word yet on its expected price or availability.