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Google Glass pioneer moves to Amazon

Google Glass pioneer moves to Amazon


Jeff Bezos snatches up the Glass architect to further his push into hardware

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Babak Parviz, the man who founded and led the Google X project that gave rise to Google Glass, has moved to work at Amazon. Revealing the news on his Google+ page, the Iranian-American scientist describes himself as "super excited" but doesn't disclose any details about what he'll be developing next. The focus of Parviz's research so far has been the pursuit of an intelligent contact lens that would both obtain readings about its wearer through sensors and provide information via augmented reality visual overlays. In many ways, Google Glass is the compromise solution on the way to that goal.

Babak Parviz is playing with Fire

Now that he's joined Amazon, Parviz can be expected to expand on the company's efforts around optics, which are already a prominent part of the new Fire Phone. Amazon's Firefly feature is designed to recognize objects around you, while the Fire Phone's interface uses multiple front-facing cameras to adapt to your perspective. Parviz's interest in augmented reality should mesh easily with Amazon's pursuit of omniscience — both for and about its user.

It's important to note that Google Glass took over three years of development inside Google's secret labs before it was introduced to developers, and Parviz himself has been working on smart optics systems for decades. The product of his work for Amazon, therefore, is unlikely to be apparent anytime soon. Parviz is the sort of deeply technical researcher that develops technology to be used many years into the future, which is probably why Google replaced him as the head of Google Glass with the more marketing-savvy Ivy Ross in May. She's better suited to refining the headset into a consumer product, whereas Parviz can now rededicate himself to doing hard science with a new team at Amazon.