Goggles and AR are the future

I might be stating obvious to some, but it seems that many people can’t imagine how computer device might evolve in the nearest future. Year 2010 was a jump-start for Tablets (thanks to iPad). Maybe tablets won’t replace desktopt/laptopt computers completely but they are the logical improvement. However I ask myself, what is the next thing after tablets?  I have no doubt it will be some kind of wearable computer with wireless display mounted in the goggles. Yes we all (or most of us) will be 4 eyes, even if it might seems geeky.

LCD displays built into goggles are nothing new, however current implementation of this technology is like comparing 1st tablets of 1990’s to iPad or Xoom.  Let me explain why I think googles will be input/output device of choice.

Ideally, you’d want to bypass your eyes altogether and wire directly into a visual region of the brain.  And it will probably happen some time in the future, but not in the next 10 years. Phone and tablet displays are fine, but they do not encompass one’s whole field of vision, they even distract us from the reality with some consequences, not to mention you have to use your hands to hold them while on the move.

Ideal display device have to allow you to see world around you, free up your hands and be unobtrusive. What’s more it can and should enhance world you see via augmented reality (AR).  Augmented reality is great, imagine information overlayed right over objects, showing you directions, prices or even name of the person next to you.  It will enrich our lives beyond any believe,  will give us not one, but thousands of extra senses, new perception of the world.

For all these things to work goggles will have to have near retina resolution, have some kind of transparency mechanism (for safety in case camera malfunctions), have built in cameras, microphone, depth sensors and other gadgets.  There also will be a need for wireless connectivity to a computer/phone that you have on yourself (or public distributed computer network) and have pretty good battery life. All this in small light package. I think it can be done, if not with today’s technology then in 2-5 years.

But it’s not just about displaying information. Cameras and other sensors will be able to use your hand gestures as input commands (a la Kinect), so you will no longer need a keyboard.  Perhaps a micro projector could be a nice addition in case you want to share some imagery with people around you, but better solution will be transmit data into their goggles. Imagine virtual spaces that only you and your friends can see, real to you but invisible to people around you.

I also believe it will be death of TV sets, Movie Theaters and computer monitors. Who’d want to have those bulky things around, when you fill your whole field of vision with movie or desktop environment?  I can only hope I will be alive when this day will come 🙂


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