12. Iphones that are Eyephones?

The more and more technology is developed, the more it seems augmented reality is where our future is headed. Google just announced a new product that combines eye wear with augmented reality and will be available to the public by the end of the year.

Google Glass

Google Glass is a wearable eye band with a head mounted display (HMD) that is currently being developed by Google in their Project Glass research and development to mass market wearable eye computers. Think iPhone meets glasses. This device will allow you to do almost anything a smartphone already does, except it will be completely hands free and for the low, low price of $1500 (note my sarcasm) you could have tested the device for yourself. But fret not, Google has said the consumer version of the product will be under the $1500 price tag and be readily available by the holiday season 2013.

The controversy surrounding the product now, is the concern of privacy of the consumer. Congress has issued this letter to Google questioning the privacy of users who will eventually  use and purchase the product, and man do they have some valid questions.
1. How will Glass not be like WiSpy?
2. How will Google proactively protect non-users who get ogled?
3. Is Google building in product lifecycle guidelines?
4. Will Glass use facial recognition?
5. Under what circumstances does Google refuse requests from Glass that invade the privacy of others?
6. Is Google tweaking its privacy policy to reflect the sensory and processing capabilities of Google Glass? If not, why not?
7. What device-specific information is Google collecting from Glass?
8. Is Google collecting data about the user without the user’s knowledge?
9. To what extent was privacy considered when approving the first app for Google Glass, rolled out by the New York Times?
10. Is Glass storing data on the device itself? (Naked Security)

Besides these very valid security questions I have questions of my own? Such as:
1. Will the glasses only recognize one user’s voice? And if not, what’s preventing anyone from running up to me while using the glasses and telling my glasses to search for Horse Genitals?
2. What is to prevent marketers from designing ads that are interactive with the glasses? For example, If I walk past a Starbucks with my Google Glass, what’s to stop them from making an advertisement pop up while I walk by?
3. Is my information going to be uploaded to major data sites and become available to marketers?
4. Can others see what I am searching for or looking up?
5. If you can record anything while wearing them, that means potential users can take video of literally anything. If you think that’s cool, think again…men’s bathrooms, throwing up, recording people doing embarrassing things in public, etc.?
6. If someone already wears glasses, like myself, how are the Google Glass going to function with them or can I only use Glass without my glasses (which is bad since I’m near-sighted)?

Yet despite all the privacy issues and concerns of my own, I really want a pair. They’re neat, innovative, and Google is really taking a chance here in producing these. Now, let’s talk about that price tag.

6. The Future is Now: Augmented Reality

This is Fujitsu Laboratories next generation user interface. By taking a user’s fingers, it can accurately detect what the user is touching, creating an interactive touchscreen-like system, using objects in the real word. Essentially it is a touchscreen interface for seamless data transfer between the real and virtual world.

“This technology measures the shape of real-world objects, and automatically adjusts the coordinate systems for the camera, projector, and real world. In this way, it can coordinate the display with touching, not only for flat surfaces like tables and paper, but also for the curved surfaces of objects such as books” (Diginfo).

ImageThis type of technology is a leading innovation to the possibility of screen-less computers or mobile devices and, hopefully, to technology like the one proposed in the Tom Cruise film Minority Report. It also allows for innovations with how we interact with the physical world.

Fujitsu Laboratories technology is very similar to another type of augmentation reality-based, SixthSense. It takes human gestures and tracks the physical world around us to interact with digital information.

Another interactive augmentation technology that has come up is Aurasma, a augmented reality tool that can animate the world through a smartphone. Think QR Codes but way cooler. Instead of taking you to a site, your smart phone will then place the video over the  image you are looking at in a seamless stream.

This type of technology could be used in so many different ways and in terms of branding or advertising, it could open so many more opportunities and ideas.