In case you missed it, Google’s project glass is very cool. It caught our attention in this month’s MIT Technology Review,
The spectacles take the place of his desktop computer, his mobile computer, and his all-knowing digital assistant. For all its utility, though, Starner’s machine is less distracting than any other computer I’ve ever seen. This was a revelation. Here was a guy wearing a computer, but because he could use it without becoming lost in it—as we all do when we consult our many devices—he appeared less in thrall to the digital world than you and I are every day. “One of the key points here,” Starner says, “is that we’re trying to make mobile systems that help the user pay more attention to the real world as opposed to retreating from it.”
The new hoodie?
In fact, wearable computers could end up being a fashion statement. They actually fit into a larger history of functional wearable objects—think of glasses, monocles, wristwatches, and whistles. “There’s a lot of things we wear today that are just decorative, just jewelry,” says Travis Bogard, vice president of product management and strategy at Jawbone, which makes a line of fashion-conscious Bluetooth headsets. “When we talk about this new stuff, we think about it as ‘functional jewelry.’” The trick for makers of wearable machines, Bogard explains, is to add utility to jewelry without negatively affecting aesthetics.
We sense a cottage industry evolving to deal with our connected and tech obsessed culture. Bloomberg cites a study that “almost 30 percent of people born after 1980 feel anxious if they can’t check Facebook Inc. (FB)’s website every few minutes.”
Not to worry, says Google,
One criticism of Google’s demo video of Project Glass is that it paints a picture of a guy lost in his own digital cocoon. But Starner argues that a heads-up display will actually tether you more firmly to real-life social interactions. He says the video’s augmented-reality visualizations—images that are tied to real-world sights, like direction bubbles that pop up on the sidewalk, showing you how to get to your friend’s house—are all meant to be relevant to what you’re doing at any given point and thus won’t seem like distracting interruptions.
Who would of thunk it thirty years ago.? And no limits x/ our imagination as to where technology is leading us.
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