Dyson reveals early Google Glass-alike prototype

Dyson has revealed details of a prototype augmented reality headset, in the style of Google Glass, that the company produced more than a decade ago.

The bag-less vacuum cleaning firm reportedly started work on its Halo headset in 2001. It has only released details about its existence now to mark the fact 21 years have passed since the release of the world's first cyclonic vacuum cleaner.

The product was powered by a pocket computer. The headset featured a pair of mirrors that reflected the display of two monitors positioned near the user's temples into their eyes.

Any content users looked at would appear as if it was being beamed onto a 10in translucent screen about a metre ahead of them.

The design, which was shelved several years later, allowed users to operate the computer using audio and motion prompts, as well as a wrist-worn mouse that would allow them to interact with the display in front of them.

In an interview with the publication Digital Trends, company founder James Dyson suggested the things his team learned through working on Halo would have been put to good use elsewhere, despite the product being canned.

For example, he said the company's R&D team are regularly encouraged to push ahead with projects regardless of how "implausible" they seem.

"Fans without blades and hand dryers that actually dry your hands wouldn't have come about unless Dyson engineers had the freedom to experiment," he said.

"We'll be doing it for the next 21 years, and the opportunities are only becoming more exciting."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.