The eyes have it

So it looks like the next tech battlefield will be our eyes, with first Microsoft last year and more recently Google announcing plans to make information more readily available to us through platforms that are literally ‘in our faces’.

This week Google unveiled their Google Glasses aka ‘Project Glass‘ which will enable the projection of information right in front of our eyes as we need it. Last year Microsoft Research announced ‘smart’ contact lens that could be used to not only display data but also support people with Type 1 diabetes to monitor their blood glucose levels. For those that haven’t seen the promo for Google Glasses here it is

Both of these, and I am sure any competing products that are in the pipeline, will be truly disruptive developments. Education will finally get the shake-up it needs – imagine being able to just look at an item and then gain access to information on the Internet about it without having to open a stuffy textbook. Exams will never be the same again, somehow I cant see teachers asking students to remove their glasses or contact lens before entering an exam can you?

Advertisers and marketers will have a whole new way of interacting with consumers, literally popping their marketing message in front of us in a way we can’t avoid unless we close our eyes. Driving will be radically altered. We have a ban on using mobile phones in New Zealand unless it is through an approved hands-free kit. What will happen when emails and other data starts appearing in front of us? Sure aviation has had HUDs for years, but in fairness the skies at 30 000 feet are not as crowded as a downtown street! Will we need to have smart cars that can block signals as soon as we step into the vehicle?

For your average consumer on the street there are potential benefits, such as map directions right in front of you and augmented reality games. Have to wonder though, people are already walking around like mindless zombies staring down at their phones, will this just make them worse? And what about information overload? We are already more connected than we were 50 years ago, what potential health risks will being plugged in 24/7 create?

To quote Bob Dylan, the times they are a-Changin’ – only time will tell if it is for the better or worse, but one thing is certain, they will be transparent.

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