Those videos are cool, but it kinda get me worry. Will people confuse the "user experience" with reality? I can imagine we will bump into each other a lot more often on the street because we are all constantly distracted.
The photo of the prototype worn by the model reminded me of Commander LaForge on Star Trek: Next Generation, which made me think how cool it would be if the camera could capture and render wavelengths not visible to the human eye, as was the case with the device he wore on the show.
Then I watched the video, and that Star Trek cultural iconic memory was replaced with one from The Terminator. A little white box zooming in around the face of a person in the field of view, a brief pause for facial recognition and then a message at the bottom of the screen indicating "target acquired".
To Rick's point, it's true the hardware and battery storage is not there yet, or even on the visible horizon, to make a device with the form factor and capabilities shown by Google. But it is not SO far out there that we should mock it.
Google and/or others will bring a product like this to market long before personal jet packs have an impact on urban planning. And when these smart glasses do hit the market, there is little doubt they will be a huge success...for better or worse.
A decade ago stuffing the processing power of an iPad or today's iPhone in as small a PCB area as they do would probably have seem just as impossible. Battery power per ounce is advancing slower than is processing power, but as the chips shrink, the power requirement do as well. I can easily see Google glass coming to fruition in a decade.
Like you, Rick, I'm OK with technology companies describing an innovative futuristic concept, but I would agree that we are a long way from this concept being a reality (augmented or otherwise). Plus, I still have gotten used to people walking around with their Bluetooth headset in their ear in case they get a call. It's going to take me decades to adjust to everyone walking around looking like Geordi La Forge (who, by the way, was blind, so if he wanted to see he didn't have much choice).
1. I'm reminded of Navin Johnson's "invention" that keeps glasses from sliding down the nose, and all the refund checks he wrote for cross-eyed customers. 2. Please do bring on this new tech to test on bleeding-edge-firsties, but with warnings not to use them while driving, etc. How much can we reasonably expect homo sapiens sapiens to multi-task? 3. Is Glass hubris or misdirection to competitors?
Google took some creative liberties with that video, but overall I'd say it's a good representation of what's possible.
The voice recognition was optimistic but acceptable. Remember that dictation and voice commands aren't the same thing - the program is expecting a small set of commands and will try to match what you say to one of them.
The map of the bookstore however, was too far-fetched. indoor maps are coming about, but indoor positioning? That's going to take a bit more work.
The way they presented the walking instructions was good, it fit with the 2-3 meter precision provided by current GPS systems. So was the camera, and the vision sharing. These are all things that can be done on a current smartphone. Battery requirements are an issue but not a big one; the coming generation of 28/32nm SoC's will only help.
I believe we aren't that far from realizing the vision Google has demonstrated. The challenge will be taking it beyond that, into the realm of in-scene augmentation with stereoscopic displays and real time image processing.
@Rick: More importantly, when I look at an emerging visual technology like Google Glass, I examine it through the lens of a hearing impaired electrical engineer, namely, how can it help me, and millions of other hearing impaired Americans, cope with day-to-day living?
First off, even the basic heads-up display is a G-dsend: One of the things we depend on is CapTel (captioned telephone), which is conducting a regular voice phone call, and having the other party being monitored by a relay operator who also transcribes the call, with the text appearing on our phone like this:
or appear on our mobile like this:
Now, let's say you're hearing mpaired, and walking down the street while talking to someone on your mobile: Instead of holding the phone up to your hearing aids or cochlear implant (CI) -- And missing many words -- or looking down to read the captions, instead the words come into our ears, and then appear in front of our eyes a second or two later. Pretty cool, ehh?
For the cognitively impaired, overlaying information on landmarks while walking about (as a sort of "heads-up GPS") would be very helpful.
Lastly, for those who are cognitively impaired when it comes to recognizing faces -- Or more accurately, connecting a familiar face to a name (which is absolutely maddening, as that's me) -- this would be a huge help.
For much more, talk to the good people at the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center at Gallaudet in DC:
Editor, The Hearing Blog