Posted February 23, 2012 3:43 pm by with 4 comments

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Imagine you’re walking down the street and as you pass a Starbucks, an ad for their latest frothy delight appears on your glasses. On the inside of your glasses, where only you can see it.

The New York Times says that the day is nearly here thanks to secret augmented reality glasses created in a Google lab.

First  of all, let’s take a moment to digest the concept that Google has a secret lab. I imagine it to be like the Batcave, buried deep within a hillside in Mountain View, California.

Now imagine these Google scientists (I’m picturing brainy Oompa Loompas) working on all kinds of futuristic gadgets that they’ve seen in spy and scifi movies.

The data-display glasses comes out of both genres. Alien hunter, Gwen Cooper of Torchwood has a pair of contact lens that allow her to read messages typed in by a remote computer.  Hopefully, the messages you get on your new Google Glasses won’t be as dramatic.

The Times says the glasses will most likely be used to feed entertainment and helpful information to the wearer. They could offer walking directions (please, no driving directions), data about a landmark, clips from a movie playing at a nearby theater and, of course, ads.

Just when I was getting used to giving the waitress my cell phone in order to use a coupon. . .

Obviously, the displays are designed to deliver information without impeding eyesight, but the experts say they’re not for 24/7 use.

What this means is that in the near future, not only will we have people walking down the street seemingly talking to themselves, but now they’ll be hopping over and dodging objects only they can see.

This could be very amusing.

  • Wow. I don’t wear glasses. I don’t even wear sunglasses or 3D glasses! They give me a headache. If I can’t stand wearing those without ads, I can’t imagine the migraine I would get wearing them with ads! Yuck.

  • I’ll take the other end.

    I remember reading William Gibson’s Virtual Light when it first hit paperback and realizing how close the Augmented Reality portion of it could really be. Now it’s here. I don’t want them to mess it up. Messing it up means it will cost too much, have little third party support and gain even less functionality. Doing it right means all kinds of fun new experiences.

    I hate the word Gamifcation, but imagine that concept thrown at these glasses. (Hypothetically) Save five mermaids from their dragon captors at a huge coffee chain and save 10% off your latte. Stare down fifty corporate logos to earn karma at some anti-corporate news site. Adding eye tracking can lead to everything from helping the disabled to helping us update Facebook at work.

    Interesting enough, the new crop of hand held video game machines are doing Augmented Reality. The Nintendo 3DS and Playstation Vita are already doing some of the kinds of things that could easily be tweaked for marketing.

    Anyway, I think this is very exciting. I’m glad to be here, in the future.

  • oy… that’s frightening. where is it going to end. lol

    • I honestly think this shows a huge but important divide between business people who adopted technology and people who actually use technology.

      These are questions as old as technology itself that will always be asked by the people who get it. What is it? What can it do? What SHOULD it do? What do we want to do most with it? I mentioned Virtual Light above, but you might be curious to read Gibson’s novel “Idoru.” Think of when it was written and think about tablet computing today. More importantly, look at how the common people and ruffians use the technology in the novel versus how they do today.

      The people who “got” the interface between men and computers were able to see how it could be used nearly two decades ago.

      It won’t end. The Internet that businesses signed onto was only one stage of this wonderful tool’s growth. What will become of these glasses? What will come after the glasses? The consumer will decide. In our world that will be everyone from middle aged business-techies keeping up with the joneses to financially strapped college pranksters, bar crawlers looking for an easier way to share social network profiles, fifteen year old kids cheating on school tests, grandparents looking at pictures of grandkids, homemakers staying connected to the outside world from inside the house, and — well — all of us. It’s only scary if we tie our existence to a limited view of what the Internet is now and was before.