Google Glass: Redefining the line between geeky and cool

Published: Monday, March 18, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 15, 2013 at 5:23 p.m.

I remember quite well the badge of geekiness being the absurdly uncool pocket protector. Not wearing one served as a thankful reminder that I would never hit rock bottom on the popularity chart. Fast forward a couple of decades and those pocket protectors are about to be replaced by devices dubbed “wearable computers.” Sure, wearing your computer might just guarantee your citizenship in Nerdville, just don't be surprised how big the population becomes.

Let's face it, the geeks evolved into something now called hip and they beat us to the pile of cash by creating this little thing called the tech world.

Imagine what Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds would think about all this.

The first of these wearable computers to burst on stage is called Google Glass. These are not something out of Star Trek but more like a pair of sunglasses without the lenses. Sounds pretty dorky right? Well, the cool part is the heads up display (HUD) concealed inside a little square above your eye.

What can HUD do for me, you might ask? Google has not shared all the specs but has been touting the development of this augmented reality device for years. The best picture I can paint is having the filter of a computer screen between your eyes and the real world evolving in front of it.

Need directions? They are displayed right in front of you.

Have a question for Google? Just speak the words, and, viola! It is displayed before your very eyes.

Social networking? What if messages were shown in real time and you could carry on a video call without taking your eyes off what you were already doing? The same person could even see what you were looking at.

The world of photography would change in an instant as the camera is already connected to your eyes. Just use a voice command like “picture” or “video” and what you're looking at would instantly be recorded. This, of course, raises privacy concerns that the world has never considered. Is everyone happy about those possibilities? Hardly.

There will no doubt be built-in Bluetooth, GPS and WI-FI connectivity capabilities to go along with voice- and eye-controlled navigation. Just imagine the masses walking around mindlessly speaking voice commands into their glasses. Since such a device would need to emit sound, technology like bone induction that vibrates your skull in a manner that brings sound to your ears could be employed. Say what? Well, we cannot walk around with ear buds all the time, either.

So, can we as a society adapt to living our lives as if we had a permanent pop-up ad constantly before us? I use the ad reference because this is Google we're talking about.

The answers should start rolling in soon. Most expect a 2014 general release, but sightings of prototypes in San Francisco are increasing. Google is even conducting a contest in which people submit videos of what they would do with these augmented reality glasses. The winners get a chance to buy prototype models for $1,500 each.

Only time will tell how far such technology will be invited into the fabric of society. Regardless, I have no doubt that the geek factor will be off the charts, and it actually has me second-guessing how much better life might have been had I just worn one of those pocket protectors. It's not like I was getting a lot of dates, anyway.

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