Wearable computers, augmented reality at our doorsteps


Photo credits: Google Project Glass

If you ask me, “what has really changed our everyday lives in the past ten years?”, then I would say broadband internet and all the devices that built on its potential. We can now share videos, photos and music. We have social media and connectivity everywhere, through smart phones and many other devices. But this is most likely not the end point in connectivity and our relationship with online devices. Gradually our perception and intelligence is merging with all kinds of computers that are getting new on the market, year after year. A development that does not surprise Singularity adepts who foresee that human intelligence will eventually merge with computers intelligence.

What’s buzzing in the air right now is the potential introduction of wearable smart phones. A type of glasses that allows for enhanced reality. Google is working on an astonishing project, called Google Glass. A small display at the corner of your eye will allow you to take and share pictures, ask for directions, video chat, check appointments, and everything else that you would do on your smart phone. Check out this video by Google, as a small preview.

Google is actually not the only one. Vuzix is heading towards a similar product. This could mean that indeed there is an emerging market for these kinds of products. It is not unlikely that as early as in 2014 the first trend setting customers will be spotted with these kinds of devices. Would this imply that by 2016 most people will start wearing augmented reality glasses? Could be. If this means easier access to our social network, services that we are getting used to through the apps on our smart phones and tablets, then it could be very convenient to go there.

Think about it. Wearable computers mean that we have our hands free to engage in ‘real’ life activities, while we are mentally able to tap into our online world. This opens up to many more services, information wise, marketing wise, and social connections. Developers and providers of apps will sure find their way to communicate with users of such glasses. It could be that within a few years, that we are all very used to the streetscape of people wearing augmented reality glasses.

The step that might come after this, could certainly be implanting computers. Well, that stills seems to belong to the world of science fiction, such as the H+ series shows (see the trailer below). However, science fiction could just easily become reality in just a few years ahead.

About Freija Van Duijne

Twitter: @FreijavanDuijne Futuring is my passion. I am fascinated about what the future might bring. Always looking around for leads about the future and open for new insights. I am futurist, trendwatchter and strategist at the The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, a thinktank in the Netherlands. My background is in Human factors psychology. I did my Masters at Leiden University and I did a PhD in Delft University at the faculty of Industrial design engineering. I have been involved in foresight studies since 2006. I am frequently asked as an expert for future studies in area of food, natural resources, health and governance. I am also a speaker and workshop facilitator on futures studies, trend presentations and the many topics that I blog about. My contributions to Futuristablog represent my own personal opinion and is never a statement of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
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