COMMENTARY | The Google Glass project is now allowing Glass Explorers to try out their experimental augmented reality smartglasses. I predict that smartglasses like Google Glass will eventually replace Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops, and PCs and that augmented reality will lead to augmented human bodies.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Google admitted they don’t know how Google Glass will be used to its full extent, but a recently released video seems to focus on making pictures, photos, and live teleconferencing. Augmented reality games will probably start to push the limits of smartglasses first, but there’s other technology that will be coming down the pipeline to transform how we use smart devices like Google Glass.
Augmented reality capabilities will probably at first be used for getting GPS-based directions drawn over what you’re seeing. Simply by looking at a restaurant you could see a popup window that gives access to the menu and other information. Google Offers will probably be merged into Google Glass so that you can see special offers floating in the air as you’re walking around the mall. Needless to say, I hope the virtual object visibility filters will be good since I can foresee spam crowding out my view space.
Google Glass project leader Babak Parviz noted that the glasses would likely be used as “a device that would allow for pictorial communications, to allow people to connect to others with images and video.” In the office teleconferencing could be much easier. But that seems to be a limited view of what smartglasses could potentially become for productivity, gaming, and general usage.
Wireless Bluetooth keyboards and mice will provide input for users in an office environment. When on the run it should be possible to project a virtual keyword onto any arbitrary flat object, although getting used to the lack of tactile feedback will take some getting used to. Mice can be replaced with eye tracking and verbal commands.
Quite frankly, limiting ourselves to the keyboard and mouse might hold back the abilities of the smartglasses. In order for smartphones and tablets to become popular a new way of looking at the User Interface (UI) had to be invented first. Most smartphones mimic the UI and the touchscreen input methods that Apple invented. With augmented reality there’s no reason why a localized view could not become our new desktop. View screens could float in the air before us, with input being a matter of waving your hand in front of you similar to how we interface with tablet touchscreens now. Sure, this will look strange at first, but nowadays we’re used to people seemingly talking to themselves with Bluetooth headsets.
People will freak out when they lose their smartphone, but in the future our smart devices might be “always on” in a different way. Circuitry can be printed nowadays. It’s possible that future smart devices could be powered by the human skin’s radiant body heat. The skin gives off about 90 to 133 watts so if circuitry were worn as a form of removable smart tattoo that should be enough to power devices which only require several watts to function.
I still see screens and smartglasses being powered by more conventional means due to their higher power draw. But it’s possible that smartglasses might be simplified into a type of contact lenses, which would then connect wirelessly to other devices on the body.
Even networking can be handled by the human body. About eight years ago the Taipei Times reported that a Japanese company developed a technology called RedTacton that transmitted network data via the skin at 2 Mbps. A business deal handshake may take on a new meaning with this tech. Accurate full body motion tracking would then be easier, allowing smartglasses users to interact with screens and virtual objects perfectly.
Many people might find the idea of augmenting their body to be very scary. Personally, if they ever reached the point where they have a “neuro link” that connects to my brain, I’m not sure if it’s worth the risk considering viruses. If my prediction for Google Glass, smartglasses, and smart devices come true would you want such devices essentially “installed” into your body?