Last July, I described how we could go from today’s technology to fully-immersive virtual reality in only two steps. Well, it now seems that step two is well on the way, having apparently skipped over step one.
Google has announced that they are working on, essentially, augmented reality glasses. Of course, technology like this has been worked on for decades with little to show for it. But this seems, possibly, different. This this time, it is a large high-tech company with a track record of producing practical and highly profitable technological innovations. If anyone has a shot to making these glasses widely available it’s them.
Second, take a look at this video:
Absolutely everything that is shown is what smart phones do today: listening to music, taking pictures, making phone/video calls, getting weather, looking up info online, texting…it’s like wearing an iPhone on your head.
Furthermore, and something I stressed in my former post, it is very lightweight, and not cumbersome at all to use, like a real pair of glasses. This is essential. If it was a giant bulky headset, no one would want to buy it, no matter what it did. Plus, when not using it, you can still see where you’re going. You don’t even have to take it off.
Now, what needs to happen is for someone to make a virtual reality app. Something like Second Life that you can stream through the glasses. True it won’t be fully immersive, and you might need to have some sort of controller hooked into the glasses (note to Google: be sure to include USB or microSD slots), but it is a first step. From there you can build onto it to eventually create fully immersive virtual reality.
Anyway, based on all this, I predict two possible outcomes: 1) Google will introduce these within a few years (2014-15 frame) and make billions, or 2) This will flop by Apple will come out with their own version a little later (2014-17 frame) and make billions (maybe they can call it the iEye ;)) Either way, the next wave of personal technology is rapidly approaching.