Here are a few of my favorite things: Nintendo, Penny Arcade, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, books, dice, Professor Layton, Shadow of the Colossus, Minecraft, and so much more. I'm going to talk a lot about video games, I sincerely hope you don't mind.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Why I'm excited and apprehensive about Project Glass.

The development announcement of Google's augmented reality glasses brings about far more speculation than answers or hard facts. It seemed like just another April Fool's pull, but it turns out it's a real thing that they're working on.

My brain raced with questions and wonderment as I watched their preview/demonstration video. After discussing my opinions with friends, it turns out that they think I'm highly skeptical. I prefer to see myself as cautiously optimistic.

Allow me to break down my concerns and excitements for you.

Store Maps

Visual maps of any location? Well, that would be handy I suppose, but most stores have maps, signs, and employees who can tell you where things are. Plus, what size effort would be required to get a map of every store ever built?

Know where your friends are

This has the potential to be a little creepy, I think, but would also be incredibly useful when meeting up with friends. Of course, this brings into question the need for constant connectivity, network coverage, and battery life.

Voice Recognition

How many people out there have issues with voice recognition? I don't know about you, but when I  said "Monsieur Gayno" to my phone, it thought I said "monster game now".  My voice has never played nicely with recognition software, so I do feel very apprehensive about a system that relies entirely on voice commands.

Visual Calls

The video is entirely concept and aspirations, but I still take a moment to wonder how annoying it would be to have things so close to my eye all the time. This phone call indicator is really big! It seems like it would be kind of invasive. And what about driving? Would we be allowed to wear the glasses then? It seems that it would be very distracting. Plus, this kind of technology would work based on eye movement, wouldn't it? And we need our eyes to stay on the road! So yeah, I'm guessing this would be a no-no while driving.

To-the-minute Updates

A constant connection could hypothetically mean that relevant data is sent to you on the spot. This would only work if we looked directly at specific information though. Would this change the way we visually gather information, or do we already look at the necessary data for this sort of technology to work?

Take a Picture

This idea I am one hundred percent in love with. I have wished I could take a photo with my eyes for as long as I can remember, and I know I can't be the only one!

Live Sharing

We can call people from wherever we are (provided there's service, or you have a phone from The Doctor) and now someday we may have the ability to show people what we're seeing. I can't even remember how many times I've said to someone "I wish you were here to see this" or "this is amazing, you should see it!"

Never Get Lost

I use Google Maps on my phone all the time, so this I really like. Plus, it would be like having a heads up display, and that would be so awesome! Gaming has taught me to appreciate the HUD and its values. I've grown to want one in real life.


It's strangely important for me to know what the weather is according to the numbers. It's not enough for me to look outside, I want to know what the professionals say. For me to be able to look out the window at the sky and have a weather readout appear in front of me, well, I just feel tickled. But what if I only want to look at the sky? Would it tell me the weather no matter what? Or could I say "no weather" and have that work? Would it make more sense to simply remove the glasses and look outside?

Image via Pocket Lint

A huge, huge question: what will these glasses look like, and how will they coincide with people who already wear glasses (me)? Is the concept design incredibly far fetched, or will the final product look similar to what we've been shown? The large piece on the side of the woman's head isn't all that different from a bluetooth headset (it's just up higher) and the rest of the hardware is simply frame-less glasses. Perhaps there would be a clip-on version for us glasses-wearing folk?

This article over at Wired offers up an explanation from augmented reality experts who are claiming that a screen that small would be incapable of delivering the visual experience that Google demonstrates in the video. Of course it's incredibly important to remember that what we've seen is concept, aspirations, and things that are hoped for. The actual product is still years away.

The whole concept is incredibly exciting and I hope to see it come to fruition eventually. The technology has so many amazing options, and knowing Google they would deliver the goods. Although my mind does wonder if this means we're just a few steps away from actual implants...

From the wonderful Penny Arcade.

Who else wishes they had a heads up display?



This should help with some of your skepticism:

Some dude just... hacked together a basic voice system. It's not as streamlined as the concept art, of course, but it doesn't look like it's too terrible. I don't think that these sorts of VR things are really all that far away. I mean, if Google is positing it as an actual THING it's probably less than 5 years away as a product. :)

I've always wanted something like this, to be perfectly honest. I want a VR interface, a constant uplink, and an AI agent to crawl the ever-expanding web. :3 Someday!

Couldn't agree more about how awesome this is going to be. But, as you asked, what about driving? Even if you tell people "don't wear while driving, it is very dangerous" people will still do it. Small sacrifice for never losing a companion in a grocery store again!

@Alii - Constant connectivity is something that I really enjoy! I know how easy it is to be out of range for my phone though, which always makes me super cranky >:O I really look forward to further news from Google about this project so that my concerns will be put to rest.

@Shaun - You bring up an excellent point about people wearing it anyway even if they were told not to. Much like cell phones. Knowing Google they'd probably find a way to disable the functionality while driving... or maybe they'll release their self-driving cars at the same time and just take over the world :D

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