The first thing Star Simpson and Scott Torborg did when they got their Google Glass? They tore it apart.

Before.

After.

The duo was surprised by how easy it was to disassemble.

"We were prepared to have to dissolve away potting compound or precisely mill off plastic, but it only actually required household tools," Torborg says.

Among the components unearthed was the 2.1 WH Lithium Polymer battery which they note "is not user-replaceable, not even a little bit."

The display, unsurprisingly, was the most complex component.

Here it is, in the process of losing its plastic shell.

Disassembling the display unit.

More disassembly.

Simpson and Torborg detached the display itself--a tiny thing, no bigger than a dime--with the help of a dental pick, and found that it had a resolution of 640x360, with pixels "roughly 1/8th the physical width of those on the iPhone 5's retina display."

Guts.

And an adorable (creepy) camera!

Co.Design

Take A Look At The Guts That Power Google Glass

Google’s wearable computer gets a proper teardown.

Some people treat their new gadgets with the utmost care, handling them like they would a newborn chick. Others can’t wait to get home and tear the things open to see what’s inside. Star Simpson and Scott Torborg are in the latter camp, and when they finally got their hands on Google’s new $2,000 face computer, their first thought was to thoroughly spill its guts.

The duo’s well-documented teardown details all the parts that make up Glass, including a custom-made touch module by Synaptics, a CPU board with 16GB of flash memory, and a behind-ear, 2.1 WH Lithium Polymer battery, which they note "is not user-replaceable, not even a little bit."

The most complex component, unsurprisingly, is the display, which uses a prism to throw a tiny picture-in-picture screen in the top-right corner of the user’s field of vision. Simpson and Torborg detached the display itself--a tiny thing, no bigger than a dime--with the help of a dental pick, and found that it had a resolution of 640x360, with pixels "roughly 1/8th the physical width of those on the iPhone 5's retina display." Those are incredibly small pixels, but when they’re millimeters away from your eyeball, they need to be.

The most striking thing about the teardown, though, may have been just how painless it was. "We were prepared to have to dissolve away potting compound or precisely mill off plastic, but it only actually required household tools," says Torborg, who co-founded the crowdsourcing platform Crowd Supply. A Torx T5 screwdriver was all it took to remove the "pod," basically all the good gizmo stuff, from the device’s titanium frame. "That said," Simpson notes, "it’s clear a lot of thought has gone into all aspects of Glass and that it’s a very well-integrated device."

The project did give Torborg and Simpson a chance to try to fit the Glass pod onto a pair of prescription glasses, something that Google has put off for the time being. The jerry-rigged combination was "functional," they say, though they found that the eyeglass lenses interfered with the device’s head-proximity sensor, making for a largely sub-optimal experience. Hopefully, Warby Parker has something in the works.

See more here.

[All images courtesy Scott Torborg]

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4 Comments

  • juanvaldezisawesome

    I think wearing these things is an EXCELLENT way to increase your carbon footprint. Think about it...walking around all day long constantly streaming data to an energy hog server farm?
    What could be more wasteful than that?!
    At americans for global warming dot com we appreciate this kind of hilarious wastefulness. Think about the energy the advertisers that collect your information are also using. When you think about the carbon footprint of these devices, it's STAGGERING!

    americans for global warming dot com

  • Detlev G. Pinkus

    Wearable technology has to compete with fashionable and valued accessories like glasses, watches, etc., and here is the problem. People want to be fashionable and perceived positive and attractive, this is what you never ever will achieve with wearable electronics. People have more watches and glasses for different occasions, and that is the main point. With wearable electronics people look like robots or astronauts and it is not comfortable as well.
    It might be a good try, but it will be not successful. A design is really good, if people like to play with, hold it in their hands and feel good.  

  • Detlev G. Pinkus

    Google Glass will go the same way like Bluetooth headsets. Wearable electronics was never ever a great product and it will not be. It is simply not comfortable. Think about, wearing Google Glass and a Bluetooth headset for your cell. How you look like? This is all nonsense.

  • jay.jay

    I completely agree that wearable technology has a lot to improve upon, but I'll have to respectfully disagree with it being "nonsense".  Wearable technology is the future of electronics.  Everyone will be wearing their electronics as opposed to holding it; and people will be talking to their electronics as opposed to using their fingers to press buttons and slide across screens.  It is actually a pretty incredible thing to think about!