The key difference between IBM’s patent and Google Glass is that the IBM glasses have two cameras, one for both eyes. IBM’s glasses will require a paired smartphone or tablet, which will upload images from the glasses so a more powerful computer in the cloud could run image recognition algorithms.
The invention could help visually impaired people by allowing them to point at an object and receive back the name communicated by a small microphone carried by the wearer. The glasses can even warn people they’re about to run into an obstacle.
The patent seems to be geared toward the medical field and exists at the nexus of the miniaturization of technology as well as artificial intelligence. It’s not a full solution — it requires three separate objects — but it could be a lifesaver for visually impaired people.