Google’s Project Glass engineers: Who are they?

Google’s Project Glass has put new focus on Google X, the lab at the tech giant where engineers work to develop the next big thing.

The next big thing may — or may not — be Google’s augmented reality glasses, but who are the minds behind this project? The post on Google+ announcing the project to the world was signed by three individuals: Babak Parviz, Steve Lee and Sebastian Thrun.

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Parviz is an electrical engineer and professor at the University of Washington who’s already made a splash with his work on contact lenses that have small circuits and displays for use in health care. He discussed his work at Google’s recent “Solve for X” forum, which focused on using technology to improve the human condition.

He proposed using these contact lenses to provide continuous measurement of a patient’s physical health, as an alternative to external or implanted monitors. He said in the talk that his research wouldn’t be ready for use in the short-term, but he believes it has promise.

Lee is a product manager at Google who previously led the company’s mobile maps and location services group. Given the usefulness that maps could have on a heads-up display like Google’s glasses, having a geolocation specialist like Lee as a headlining member on the team makes a lot of sense. He’s also an investor in several companies that use location data as a major part of their services, such as Highlight and blip.me, according to his Google+ profile.

Thrun most recently made headlines as one of the brains behind Udacity, the online university that aims to offer a university-level education to any person in the world. He’s also one of the brains behind another high-profile Google project, the self-driving car. A former Stanford University professor, he used to lead the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

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