Japan’s Version of Google Glass: How Does It Work?


Home / Japan’s Version of Google Glass: How Does It Work?

A company in Japan is creating its own version of Google Glass. Image by tedeytan

Google Glass is becoming the latest technology gadget must-have and Japan’s NTT Docomo has created its own version. Intelligent Glass, as it is known in Japan, will allow the wearer to quickly translate signs, photographs, menus and more, as well as use facial recognition to help you remember a name. So how does the technology actually work?

Virtual Vision: An Attempt at Gaining More International Business

Japanese is difficult for people to master, but Japan wants the international business. Intelligent Glass is the way forward. The wearer will be able to look at a sign and it will translate it into the language of choice.

The device uses character recognition to turn any sign or item in Japanese into the user’s first language. The first language of choice is set up at the start, similar to other technology devices. The translation will be instant as soon as the user looks at the sign. There is no need to quickly search on a translation app, or hope that Google gives you the right meaning via a smartphone.

The translation will appear over the top of the sign, so the user will know what is being translated. There are no reports on how that looks with the Japanese characters in the background.

Facial Recognition to Remind You of a Person

Another aspect of the Intelligent Glass is facial recognition. It is connected to a smartphone directory, and will look up the information you need on any person in front of you. The Glass uses facial recognition software to compare features against the pictures in the smartphone to bring up the name and company that the person works for.

This technology seems great in theory but it does rely on the ability of the facial recognition software. There is the possibility that the wrong name will show up on the screen, or that nothing will come up at all – you’ll also need to have a photo for every contact in your smartphone, and everyone you know as a contact on your phone, which not everyone will do.

It is possible to add people manually, as well – you can add as much detail as you want about anyone you meet, and may meet again in the future.

Use apps as if you were simply using a tablet computer. Image by Intel_DE

Turn a Flat Screen Into a Tablet Computer

The new glasses also work with a ring. This device turns any flat screen into a tablet computer, so you can read books, play music and check apps just as you would on a tablet device.  The ring connects to the glasses to relay where the fingers are through the use of an infrared sensor and camera at the centre of the glasses.

Users will be able to touch apps, type and do many other things that they would usually do on a computer. The difference is that only they can see what they are doing. To everyone else, it’ll look like you’re just tapping your fingers on blank space. There are still limitations but you can open folders and files, watch videos and search the Internet with this device.

The Future of Intelligent Glass

The developer plans to take Intelligent Glass further. One advancement is for multiple people to manipulate the same items with the infrared sensor. The technology is still limited but it is in early development. Like Google Glass, unfortunately, Intelligent Glass is still in development and is not available in stores.


Pfanner, E. A Google Glass Alternative in Japan. (2013). The New York Times. Accessed October 3, 2013.

Wheatley, M. Japan’s Gadget Show Offers Glimpse of the Future with Smart Glasses & Driverless Cars. (2013). Silicon Angle. Accessed October 3, 2013/

Smith, M. Japanese Carrier DoCoMo Demos ‘Intelligent Glass’ Wearable at CEATEC 2013 (hands-on). (2013). Engadget. Accessed October 3,2013.

Leave a Comment