I read this article by Nicholas Carlson in Business Insider. Carlson talks about the latest projects coming out of Google and Microsoft, which are glasses that display data right in front of your face. There are a couple key differences between the two products, and Carlson argues that these goggle gadgets could be the end of the smartphone.
Google Glass, according to the article, is a device that doesn’t involve lenses like regular glasses. Instead, it almost seems like a head band that rests on the bridge of one’s nose and has a small screen attached to its right edge, presumably where information would be displayed. And if you click on the link I provided back there, you’ll see in the image results page that someone has cleverly compared the head device to what they wore in Star Trek. Humorous, yes, but the two are very similar.
Microsoft’s product only has blueprint drawings floating around on the web, and Carlson included pictures at the bottom of his article. This version appears to be more like actual glasses that one wears. In the blueprint, it shows someone viewing a baseball game while wearing the glasses and data appears on the lenses about each of the players on the field. Pretty cool, but these glasses remind me of the ones that little kids who need glasses would wear to play sports, so as not to break their “good” pair.
Personally, I wear contact lenses because I DON’T LIKE WEARING GLASSES. They fog up whenever there’s a significant temperature change (like a heated car vs. outdoor winter weather, or an air conditioned room in humid summer), which is way too common in Pennsylvania and other areas with definitive seasonal weather. Glasses hurt my nose and make my ears sore. Yeah, maybe the glasses have the internet built into them. Maybe they aren’t even really glasses but a futuristic looking head band with a screen. Regardless, both devices, as they are now, rest on the bridge of one’s nose and use ears to hold them in place. And that sucks. Plus, what about people who already have prescription glasses? And people who want to wear sunglasses?
How would we enter text to search with these things? Would I have to tote my wireless keyboard to the baseball game, along with my glove, hot dog, XL soda, peanuts, and everything else?
I don’t know, but these glasses have a long way to go before they’re ready for the public to latch on to. Carlson does have an interesting point, though.
“Computers have been getting smaller and closer to our faces since their very beginning.
First they were in big rooms, then they sat on desktops, then they sat on our laps, and now they’re in our palms. Next they’ll be on our faces.
(Eventually they’ll be in our brains.)”
Has anyone ever read M.T. Anderson’s Feed? Written in 2005, it’s the story of our society in the future with the internet embedded in our brains, and all the interpersonal, moral and societal issues that arise from it. You should check it out, it’s a pretty intense read.
The smartphone isn’t going anywhere for a while. Unless Apple comes up with a product that trumps Google Glass and Microsoft’s product, I think society is perfectly content to have the internet in the palm of our hands.