Valve's Secret Project Revealed

Written by John Ponio    Monday, 16 April 2012 15:42

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For a while now there have been rumors floating around trying to answer the question on everyone's mind: "What is Vavle's newest secret project?" Almost all we knew that was it was hardware-related, which led many people to believe it would a Steam-centric console. Well, a man working at Valve has recently released a blog post outlining his past, how he got to work with Valve, and what exactly this new secret project is.

The man in question is named Michael Abrash. He's had a history with working in the industry, from Microsoft to Id Software to Valve, so he knows what's what in the computer world. He left Microsoft to work for Id Software to develop Quake with John Carmack, and from there he moved on to Valve. 

So what's Mr. Abrash working on now? Wearable computing. They are still in the research and development stage, so don't expect to see "Valve Glasses" at the next E3. On a more positive note, though, Michael Abrash did say he believes that wearable computing is very likely to happen in 3-5 years. 

There could be a lot of different definitions for what a "wearable computer" is, so I think it's best that we understand his:

"By 'wearable computing' I mean mobile computing where both computer-generated graphics and the real world are seamlessly overlaid in your view; there is no separate display that you hold in your hands (think Terminator vision).... And I’m pretty confident that platform shift will happen a lot sooner than 20 years – almost certainly within 10, but quite likely as little as 3-5, because the key areas – input, processing/power/size, and output – that need to evolve to enable wearable computing are shaping up nicely, although there’s a lot still to be figured out."

The timing of this announcement is interesting, because it's close to Google's announcement of their HUD glasses project dubbed "Project Glass," but it's not so close that it looks like they're competing. If you want to read more about Michael Abrash and his journey from Microsoft to Valve, and about the project he's working on now, you can read his blog post here. I often wonder about the usefulness of a HUD in real life. Would it actually help or would it get in the way more than be of use? What're your thoughts?