Amazon this week hired Babak Parviz, a former Google executive who led the development of the company’s Glass wearable gadget. Several weeks ago Mr. Parviz was replaced from his position at Google, but remained at the company. Apparently, Amazon has offered the executive better opportunities than his former employee. Potentially, Mr. Parviz could lead development of smart eyewear at Amazon.
“The primary reason for the move is being excited about what we might accomplish at Amazon,” said Mr. Parviz in a conversation with Cnet News.
Babak Parviz was a Google employee since 2010. He led the development of Google Glass for several years and was also behind the glucose-tracking contact lens project. Mr. Parviz has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, but it is highly unlikely that Amazon hired a person of this calibre to become a yet another engineer at the company. It is logical to expect that the executive will continue to work on wearable electronics.
Amazon has been gradually adding hardware into its lineup of products. The company has Lab 126 division which secretly develops various innovative devices. So far Amazon has developed a family of e-book readers, numerous media tablets, a set-top-box and a smartphone. Theoretically, the company could design a smart eyewear as well.
Google Glass-like device from Amazon could revolutionize shopping and make retail stores nearly obsolete. Amazon’s Fire smartphone already features Firefly technology that automatically recognizes web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, plus over 100 million items, including movies, TV episodes, songs, and products. The Firefly allows one to go to a store, locate a product and then buy it from Amazon. A smart eyewear with Firefly could allow to do it much easier. What remains to be seen is whether this will also allow to recognize “products” already used or worn by people, something, which could spark a lot of ethics-related debates.
Amazon has confirmed that it had hired Mr. Parviz, but did not reveal what he is going to do at the company.
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KitGuru Says: Wearable electronics should help Amazon to grow its business since eventually it should help people to buy things they see in everyday life. While the idea is good, it will probably not be supported by retail stores, moreover, far not all customers would like to do shopping every day for prolonged periods of time.