Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Google's Project Glass and advancements in Augmented Reality devices

"The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed.", said William Gibson in 1993. In the world of technology, that is as true as it gets. For decades now, many people have longed for their flying cars, cyborg suits and dare I say, time travel. Time (not the 4th dimension but the magazine) published a list in 2010 of some 'failed' predictions. While these haven't exactly failed, they haven't arrived to the masses either.

Not all technologies need to have similar fates though. 2012 has been a breathe of fresh air for technology innovations so far. One of the most promising amongst all emerging concepts this year have been the "Augmented Reality Eyewear". If you have even a remote interest in technology, you may have already seen Google's new AR glasses called Project Glass. Here's their official video:

And here is an image of Sergey Brin wearing one of the prototypes:

sergey brin project glass engadget

While the technology is truly futuristic, there seems to be some reservation amongst the denizens of the internet about the way they will make you look. If they don't float your boat, don't despair!

Enter Oakley. They have been chasing the AR 'beast' since 1997 apparently. As the following video highlights, the thing that would distinguish their glasses from Google's is style.

When will these be available to the masses? No one really has the answer to that yet but their implementation looks very feasible. After all, Android phones have some superb augmented reality apps like Layar and Sky Map already.

At this point, I know what you are thinking. What if you don't like glasses at all? Well, there is both good news and bad news for you. The good news is that DARPA has recently ordered prototypes of Innovega's iOptik special contact lenses that allow a person to focus both on images shown on the lenses and far-away objects for augmented reality. The bad news of course is that they probably won't be available to you any time soon. Still, that's another win for Dr. Michio Kaku's prediction.

The ramifications of these devices are simply too many to mention. However, there are two that have caught my attention. The first is their use in the gaming industry. As you can see from the video below, Battlefield 5 (or 6 0r 7) will be a million times cooler with Google's AR glasses.

Investing your money in some derelict industrial complex never looked more attractive. The second area where their impact would be felt is in the advertising industry. Didn't think you could escape that did you? Here too, depending on how advanced these devices are built to be, the use of marketing concepts like geolocation, gamification and some other bizarre ones would probably go off the scale. Some people on the internet have already envisioned how these ads will be presented to you. They look very familiar don't they?

google project glass advertisement imgur
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