Google Glass has all the cosmetic trappings of a deluxe Star Trek device, but what's actually hiding inside the mysterious head piece?
Catwig's Scott Torborg and Star Simpson unwrapped a pair of the augmented reality specs in Glass' first-ever teardown. "Speculation reigned: What if the entire body of Glass is potted with epoxy requiring strong solvents to access? Which part is the battery in?" the teardown asks. "How hackable is this thing? Where are the sensors? Any extra hardware features yet to be unlocked by future software updates? But first, where to even begin opening it?"
Google already revealed some of the wearable computer's tech specs in April — a 5-megapixel camera, a bone conduction transducer, 16GB of flash memory, and battery than can run all day on a single charge.
But once the team picked apart the plastic casing, they found additional features, including a custom Synaptics T1320A touchpad controller, a TI OMAP4430, an Elpida mobile DRAM chip, a flex PCB and an RF cable, and a single-cell Lithium Polymer 570 mAh battery.
Torborg and Simpson first removed a single Torx T5 screw, which freed the "pod" from the main titanium frame. While some may be nervous about cutting into such an intricate piece of machinery, the Catwig team happily dug in, separating what amounts to three distinct regions of Google Glass: the main computer in the middle, the display assembly in the front, and the behind-the-ear battery.
Stored in the rounded section that hangs behind the user's ear, the battery is not user-replaceable — "not even a little bit," Catwig confirmed. Meanwhile, the tiny Glass display provides a 640 x 360 resolution.
The team even experimented with prescription glasses — coming to Glass at some point — by attaching the exterior "pod" to a pair of frames. The result: a subpar hack; the built-in proximity sensor didn't work when positioned next to the prescription lenses.
Most impressive, perhaps, was Torborg and Simpson's efforts to reassemble the head set. "We were able to reassemble Glass after this teardown and it still operated perfectly, albeit with cosmetic damage," they wrote.