Just when the world is going bonkers over the Google Glasses of the future, up steps another, even better idea.
To do this, let me first explain that Google Glasses are designed to project an image onto one lens of a pair of wearable glasses. The other lens is supposed to allow the wearer to view their outer periphery. Unique? Certainly. The newest concept? No way.
In fact, to improve on the innovative Google Glasses, developers have come up with the concept for a pair of wearable glasses that will first project an image onto both lenses of the eyeglasses and then reflect these images to a pair of contact lenses. This technology is meant to remove the one-eyed approach and make it possible for the user to not only view an image, but also give them the ability to view the outside world at the same time.
Developed by Randy Sprague for his company, iOptik, the project has received grant funding from the prestigious National Science Foundation. However, while this company appears to be a pioneer in the development of this product, other companies, including Google and Microsoft, have their own AR systems in development. What is interesting about iOptik, however, is its innovative approach that led to the US Army contracting with the company to be a part of its research and development team for the purpose of developing a new form of super glasses for our troops. It is my guess that Army officials believe that our troops would benefit from these super glasses by being able to view maps on the contact lenses while still being able to keep an eye out for activity on surrounding terrain.
What Other Uses Could These Types of Glasses Have?
For the everyday user, there would be the option of wearing the contact lenses and turning off the heads-up display when simply wishing to access information. On the other hand, the user could choose to venture out into the world and, just by placing their sunglasses on, they could access the information of their choosing. Interestingly enough, this information could range from using a GPS function to helping a driver find a way to circumvent backed-up or rush-hour traffic on busy city streets. Even at home, these little accessories could come in handy when a viewer wishes to pull up extra information about a TV program they are watching. This information could range from notes about the program itself to personal details about the actors or a director’s take on the program. Even on a blind date, these little glasses could provide background information on a date or the other people in a room of unknown entities.
Expanding possibilities further, one acknowledges that the availability of this information could prove useful for airline pilots and others who fly by providing information such as maps, terrain, weather conditions, and so forth. For professional drivers, either local or long haul, the ability to obtain information regarding upcoming traffic conditions could result in a safer trip.
Then one can’t forget the advantages that these could provide for our law enforcement personnel who could potentially be able to run facial recognition software prior to entering a dangerous situation. It could also be used to alert the local authorities if a driver had a warrant or was an alleged suspect of a crime. The ability to run these programs right in front of a suspect could prepare the officer to take an alert stance, thus adding another level of safety for the officer.
What Are the Drawbacks of Such Technology?
While I have listed the advantages of these types of glasses for drivers, one must also be aware that the wearing of these glasses could create a driving distraction. These distractions would be similar to those we have encountered when the driver of the car in front of us is on a cellphone and oblivious to their surroundings. In such instances, it is not uncommon to notice their vehicle swaying between the lines or proceeding at such a slow rate of speed that they irritate all of those driving behind him / her. Since these drivers are basically just concentrating on what they are hearing versus what they are seeing, I can’t help but believe that wearing these glasses would cause an even greater hazard on the road.
Over all, however, if the right driving restrictions were to be put in place, I believe that augmented reality glasses will be very beneficial for the reasons I have mentioned and I look forward to using them in the very near future.
What about you? Will you be using augmented reality glasses?
CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by familymwr