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Google to sell Augmented Reality Glasses in 2012.


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People who constantly reach into a pocket to check a smartphone for bits of information will soon have another option: a pair of Google-made glasses that will be able to stream information to the wearer’s eyeballs in real time.


According to several Google employees familiar with the project who asked not to be named, the glasses will go on sale to the public by the end of the year. These people said they are expected “to cost around the price of current smartphones,” or $250 to $600.


The glasses will have a low-resolution built-in camera that will be able to monitor the world in real time and overlay information about locations, surrounding buildings and friends who might be nearby, according to the Google employees.


maybe v1.0 won't be that great, but consider how fast cell phones advance, and imagine this tech getting better at the same rate.




this is going to change things forever. imagine the possibilities. one thing i've always imagined doing with this kind of system is the idea of being able to "wear" virtual status overlays. "computer: show me everyone in this crowd who's interested in aphex twin" and anyone with a public profile tag for "idm" starts glowing orange...

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in b4 google privacy rant


there comes an inflection point in the evolutionary process, somewhere around the invention of the transistor, or the splitting of the atom, where a species begins to invent new technologies faster than it can understand their potential impact.


it's quite likely we're already on the wrong side of this "great filter", but the end game should be one hell of a show.

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in b4 google privacy rant


there comes an inflection point in the evolutionary process, somewhere around the invention of the transistor, or the splitting of the atom, where a species begins to invent new technologies faster than it can understand their potential impact.


it's quite likely we're already on the wrong side of this "great filter", but the end game should be one hell of a show.



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With the enthusiasm people have shown for smart phone technology, I foresee these being pretty widespread in the next fews years, likely replacing conventional cell phones.


'Apple engineers are also exploring wearable computing, but the company is taking a different route, focusing on computers that strap around someone’s wrist.'

^Seems like a facepalm moment. ( :facepalm: )

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i remember seeing something about apple glasses awhile back. i know this much, google's first attempt at this will be riddled with issues and will be outdone very quickly by someone else. the idea is the beginning of meshing online reality with real life. a line i do not think we are ready to cross. i, for one, look forward to our new dolphin overlords.

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I think "augmented reality" is interesting but I have my doubts about this tech. It has to be quite a few cm away from your eye to be able to properly focus on the display so I imagine these things being quite bulky.


I hope they'll sell them separately.

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So now I can know when a girl has a boyfriend or not. I'll just look at her and see her relationship status.


there will probably be apps to see her naked, too, i'd imagine. no doubt.

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So now I can know when a girl has a boyfriend or not. I'll just look at her and see her relationship status.

Shit, I am going to try very hard to stay off of the google grid for the next several decades.

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This is one of the areas of technology i'm absolutely obsessed with. It's going to change the world forever. I actually started a list of all the little possibilities of this technology i could think of and it got ridiculously out of hand. Might as well post it up. Feel free to comment if you think any of it is bullshit/interesting.


edit. updated version added



Near term possibilities of AR


Using transparent, regular-looking eye glasses with in-ear headphones, eye tracking (the software knows what you are looking at) and in some cases combined with internet connected objects. It seems likely that the glasses will be connected to your smartphone and the phones processor will be doing most of the work. I am guessing that the impact of the first 10 years of glasses-based AR (i define this period as beginning when the first major company like Google or Apple release AR glasses) will have as much impact on the world as the web did from the early 90's through to 2010 and will actually change the feel of everyday life much more than the web has done so far.




Tag people/strangers with your own private comments/notes that pop up again when you pass them in the street 5 years later.


Websearch on people you pass in the street just by looking at them. It will pull up all online images, profiles, twitter, youtube etc


The ability to make someone appear any way you wanted with or without their knowledge.


Attach a song or sounds to a person. Every time you see them it would play in your ear. e.g. Jaws theme when you see your boss.


If you were attacked or saw a crime taking place and were unable to identify the person online, then your glasses could highlight them if you ever came across them again in your entire lifetime. This assumes that they have blocked being visually ID'd automatically through facebook etc - which would be common sense if you are comitting serious crimes - though it's not clear if anyone could ever completely block being visually ID'd in all possible ways like those mentioned above "online images, profiles, twitter, youtube"


Look at a person comitting a crime and this person could become tagged for police attention. Especially if a very serious crime has been comitted, a video clip of the crime, shot by your glasses, could be sent with the alert. The police should easily be able to track them down. Even if they weren't able to immediately find the person breaking the law, this person would be highlighted on police AR systems and again, even if it was months or years later. The police would also know that it was you who brought the crime to their attention so that the system wasn't abused by people who thought it'd be fun to tag people as criminals for the rofls.


Sorting through groups of people (e.g in a bar)


command: "highlight all single, christian people aged 18-23." command: "highlight all Radiohead or Arcade Fire fans aged 30-45 who live within a 5 mile radius of this bar." It'd use facebook,twitter, google+ for the info. You could leave any search running permanently in the background so that people who fit the criteria are highlighted as you go about your day.


A permanent app running in the background that scans faces and body language to tell you who is likely attracted to you.


Communicating with others


Texts will come into view as they are recieved or maybe a little bleep and command: "open" would open it.


Pictures/video/music etc could be sent between you and people with your number/ID/email etc and would be viewed in front of you. You could actually 'throw' a video or picture at a wall and it would appear on the wall. Comical pictures could be presented mid conversation just like in forum threads online. Close friends could be given free rein in the sense that any file they sent to you would be viewed/heard instantly without you having to deliberately open it/give permission - open access to your attention, if you like.


Send a message/video/music etc to anyone instantly as long as they are in view. Even if they are hundreds of metres away. An advantage of this is that they dont have to be a contact of yours already. This would be a way of messaging people you dont know.


Graphics + sound modifiers


You will be able to modify your experience of the world with augmented sounds and graphics. Most CGI you have ever seen in a movie (bearing in mind you dont even notice much of it) could be achieved in AR. This could theoretically be done so well that it would be impossible to tell if what you are looking at is real or fake. Any movie you have ever seen with a general 'look' or 'theme' could be made into a plug in - as subtle or dramatic as needed. In other words you could have a Tron plug in which would modify your environment to look like the movie and make cars sound like Tron vehicles. General themes like 'Snow' which realistically covered everything in snow or custom plug ins like an LSD plug in which made things look slightly surreal with subtle hallucinations, for example. A KID A theme where the artwork from kid A was expanded upon and blended into the world with sounds from the album.


The aphex twin face could be perfectly mapped to everyones face just as realistically as it is achieved in the windowlicker video.

40 year olds looking to make modest changes to themselves might use their 30 year old face.

You could appear differently to different people.

Old fashioned tatoos will probably become pointless so people will probably stop getting them. Virtual tatoos will be completely indistinguishable from a permanent one.


The ability to make someone appear any way you wanted with or without their knowledge.


When viewing someone, you could browse through their looks (or at least the ones they made accessible to you). ie. their appearance would change instantly as you flicked through.


Endless possibilities to changing the interior of your house, making it completely unrecognisable as being your home. Actual physical decorations for the house like paintings, ornaments and christmas decorations will become less common as time goes on.


AR Graffiti will probably become extremely popular. It's important to remember that this is not just limited to walls in AR. AR graffiti would include fully animated 3D artwork at any location. Remains to be seen how people will be stopped from creating AR in places where it's not wanted but it could be a big issue.


Bands + musical acts will use AR to make light shows far beyond anything we have now. They will likely create virtual environments for the audience to go along with their songs. This will become an artform unto itself. The audiences may be actually immersed in these environments. Either way it seems almost certain that the virtual light show/environment wouldn't just be confined to the stage. Nightclubs would definitely use this effect. Something like a sophisticated version of the traditional animations on pc media players that react to the music and morph within a theme/set framework.


Real life copy + paste. An object could be scanned/captured (from all sides) and then copies could be made. Example: a vase that you liked could be 'copied' and 'pasted' extremely convincingly somewhere else in your house.


Seems probable that there will be a large market for buying/selling virtual items to decorate your home with. Both real objects that have been scanned to sell copies and also objects created from scratch in software. Obviously this kind of thing will be shared free online too.





command: "where am i?" Map overlayed/a voice tells you/both


Insides of all public buildings like stores, museums, sports arenas, airports will be mapped so you can command: "point me to the mens clothing section" or "turnstile 18, seat 26" and you will be guided to wherever you need to go.


When in food stores, items that you regularly buy are highlighted to tell you that you dont have any in your fridge. With an internet connected fridge, your glasses could communicate with your fridge at home as soon as you enter a store and highlight all the items you will probably want to buy or it could consult your fridge on the fly as you look at each item.


command: "beef casserole" All the ingredients needed to make that meal are then highlighted in the store.


A points/places of interest guide to many locations, towns, cities etc with directions leading you there and information about that point/place of interest.


command: "show me the most popular photos and videos taken at this location" all videos and pictures ever taken and tagged as being linked to that location returned as search results.


People with poor eyesight could be guided by arrows to where they need to go while even alerting them to dangers that may not be clearly visible.


At night, even people with 20/20 vision could have things highlighted with nightvision. In other words their general view would be normal but a little section surrounding the object that needed to be seen would be highlighted in nightvision.




When walking by stores, adverts could jump out at you. They will probably become increasingly intrusive and regulations will need to be made to combat this as people wont want to tolerate mcdonalds 'pop ups' just because you came within 50 metres of the store. Also, it will be unacceptable for people driving vehicles to be receiving animated adverts while driving. A tasteful version of this kind of advertising would be where you

are required to directly look at the store before it sends anything to you, or even further down that path, you would have to consciously select the advert by hand.


When walking outside a restaurant you could be shown a menu with prices.


Advertising boards/billboards/posters would come alive.


Bands/musicians wanting to promote themselves could leave songs at various locations. There would be a danger of musicians leaving their music in thousands of locations and people will probably begin to treat this just like they do with more typical advertising and filter it out. Another approach would be for well established artists to make their music very scarce so that people are hunting it down like a treasure hunt.





Look at objects to view wikipedia page, videos, relevant web pages


Your own private little message could be tagged onto any physical object anywhere and remain there permanently/until you removed it. You could tag an object with a song that will play only when you next see the object. Notes, songs and files could be left for people you know too.


The ability to zoom into an object and see what it looks like at different microscopic scales. So the app would identify the material you were looking at (example: wood) and you could manually zoom into it and view it at different scales. Obviously you wouldn't be literally viewing that object in real time. The app would have a library of a different materials that it had in its database and select from that.


Look at a car in the street, receive the relevant information/prices and buy one. This goes for anything. You will be able to look at any object and simply say 'buy' to see if you can buy one instantly.


All objects could have a thumbs up/thumbs down (like/dislike) rating system hovering above them. People could have their popularity hovering above their heads.


Your AI assistant (call it Siri) could be constantly looking at all objects in view even if you aren't looking at them. Siri could notify you of an object that you might be interested in and offer up information on it. Obviously, as more time goes on, the better this kind of assistant would get. In an antique or second hand store it could alert you if it finds something rare or valuable as it checks everything against its massive databases.


You could ask Siri "have i ever seen this particular object before?" or if you did "which location was it? How long ago?" And it could search back through every frame of every video you ever recorded and give you the answer.


A possibility for how an AR user interface could work in relation to objects


It may be that we will pre-select a handful of apps/websites that will then pop up everytime we focus on/select an object. Example: i pre-select google search, wikipedia, twitter, ebay, google shopping, youtube as my default progs/websites. I look at a pair of converse trainers and then bubbles appear round them. One is the wikipedia logo, one is ebay, another is twitter and so on. I then select the logo that will perform the task i am looking for. If i select ebay it may show me how much these sell for on ebay. If i select wikipedia, i probably just want to know about the object. If i select twitter it will give me related hashtags to the object and do a search on the hashtag and so on.


Instructional AR


The premise of this is that you can be guided to learn new skills or quickly fix a problem without having to pay for it to be repaired. Your glasses can see what you are doing and through visual signals and audio instructions it can guide you through many tasks as you do them. Just like having an expert in almost any field at your side showing you what to do. Whole directories of every problem or skill imaginable will quickly be created once people learn the power of this - very similar to wikipedia and how it evolved.


Car breaks down. You will be guided through various checks until the problem is found and then shown exactly what to do to fix it.


Look at a brand new disconnected desktop computer and be shown which wires are supposed to be connected where.


Look at a piano, guitar or drumkit and be taught how to play the instrument. Example: you could see hands playing your guitar and have the ability to download various song lessons and have the hands show you how to play them.


Learn how to play chess, scrabble or card games etc


Play pool/snooker and see arrows showing you where the balls will end up once struck, where and how to hit the cue ball and what the result will be etc. Essentially professional level pool/snooker.



Internet connected objects combined with Augmented reality


Eventually many objects will be internet connected and be able to transmit information directly to the internet (and your eyewear) e.g the Fridge mentioned above which knows what contents it has inside and can tell you what you need to buy wherever you are. There are endless possibilities for this even if AR never existed but i'll keep to things that are interesting from an AR perspective.




command: "house cameras" View a feed of any camera in your house from anywhere. command: "any notable/unusual events?" Software will decide if there's anything to show you from any of the cameras. command: "find pet X." Finds that particular pet or last shot of him on camera.


command: "what's switched on?" List of everything that's turned on in your house. Many things could be switched on/off from a distance by voice.


command: "is my house secured?" Here you could see a plan of your house which would indicate which doors are locked/unlocked. Doors may be locked/unlocked by voice command from a distance.


Command: "house lights" Overhead plan of the house shows which lights are switched on or if a bulb has broken. Lights could be switched on or off by voice.


command: "house temperature" Overhead plan of the house displayed showing the temperature of each room. With ability to switch heating on/off or change the temp from a distance.


All electrical objects TV's, stereos etc could be controlled via special apps that are created specifically for augmented reality. Software to control your products remotely with AR may become a standard feature for most electrical goods. Example for stereo: The LED display normally on the front of a stereo could be seen hovering in front of you. A 'now playing' window could be minimized in the bottom corner of your view and updates as the song changes.


All screens and monitors will be accessible so you can see what is on tv downstairs in front of you. In a music recording studio all members of a band could view a computer monitor while they remain in their positions (at the drum kit, on a guitar across the room etc).


Future operating systems (windows, OSX etc) and the computer programs on them could be designed to be manipulated remotely in augmented reality. In a music recording studio setting, all band members could access and control the music recording software from wherever they are in the studio, allowing them to jam and edit very fluidly with multiple people taking control.


More generally, anything that you now do on screen, be it TV, phones, monitors can be done right in front of you in AR.




Internet connected bus/trains show up on a live animated map so you can see where they are on their route at that exact point in time, also with an estimated arrival time hovering above.


Black cab service: live animated map showing where the black cabs are and if they have passengers. Select an empty cab on the map and the driver will be notified where you are.


In-car AR: the driver could have his vision augmented with any extra info needed in an uninvasive way. Also, they would have access to the in-car media system and online services (which are soon to become standard as of Feb 2012) without having to take their eyes off the road. It would seem highly likely that a person driving would, by law, have to use a very specific AR driving mode where many kinds of AR services would not be available due to the distraction regular AR would cause. Driving itself will gradually become more and more automated over the next 5-20 years putting an end to that problem.





Such a huge area that i'll only mention it briefly as really this topic could be an essay in itself.


Many games that make use of the physical environment itself will be created.


Mass outdoor public games become possible.


3 dimensional puzzles that you can manipulate in front of you or physically walk around.


AR top trumps where you place 2 cards next to each other and the characters on the card come to life. A battle takes place between the 2 to see who wins.





Life logging / POV streaming


The ability to record your entire life constantly. Though rather than keep everything, you could just have the camera recording and select what you wanted to keep on the fly. command: "camera, keep the last 30 minutes" or "camera, rewind to 3 o clock." *watch footage* "please save 3:14 to 3:16" Though it would be trivial in terms of storage space to record your entire day in HD within 10 years. It should be possible to record with the AR graphics overlaid onto the video if needed.


The ability to stream a video of your point of view to others in realtime or make available for download later. Buy "experiences". Tom Cruise: night at the Oscars or David Beckham goes out drinking. Anyone wearing AR glasses could trade experiences. It may become a very normal thing to have viewpoints belonging to several friends streaming all day and minimized at the side of your view.


10's, 100's or even 1000's of live streams/points of view may be available during any interesting event happening at a given moment. Someone at an event e.g. London riots of 2011 would make their live stream/point of view publically available and perhaps people doing a search on twitter/facebook/future news streaming site would click on the streams they want to access so that they can watch the events unfold live.


Attach cameras to remotely controlled robots or miniature flying machines and have their point of view streamed in front of you live.


Obviously photos will be extremely easy to take, whether you are taking a frame from video or by a simple command: "photo" without having to quickly grab your phone.


Translation and real life subtitles


All printed words can be translated on the fly into other languages and actually replaced pretty seemlessly so it looks like all the signs in a Spanish town are written in English.


Real life subtitles can be turned on so-to-speak in order to translate the spoken word. This will eventually only be with a tiny delay. If prefered, a voice in your ear could translate into your language if that's easier than reading.


Realtime subtitles for people who are deaf or hearing impaired.


Software that can lip read people at a distance and subtitle it for you.


Possibilities for TV


TV shows will be watched anywhere (really just an extension of what is happening with smartphones but better)


Objects and people on screen become interactive in the same way that they have in real life thanks to AR. Searches, webpages, wiki etc can be brought up while watching shows. A twitter style hashtag shown on tv could be selected with your hand and it would open up a search on twitter right in front of you.


When watching a tv show, AR could automatically pull up any bonus content for you, sort of like an AR version of the bonus features on a DVD or it could be a simple command: "bonus content"


TV gameshows could be played by the audience at home. Simple example: a quiz show where 3 answers are available. You point to the answers you think are correct and are scored accordingly. This could be your own private game or as part of a huge worldwide game that everyone is playing. TV Shows could be fundamentally designed to be played at home by thousands/millions of people.


TV adverts would obviously allow you to buy instantly or pull up more info. In a real sense, product placement becomes a much more powerful thing once AR arrives because we will be able to buy many things on sight. What we have had up until this point is more of a system where a product is meant to just stay in the back of your mind as something desirable after you have watched the movie, whereas with AR it would be a situation where people could be expected to buy things in a more impulsive way.


The room ambience/atmosphere/environment could react instantaneously to the tv show you are watching. For example: it's snowing in a movie. Your floor appears to be covered in snow and snow is falling in your living room. Example: A sunset on screen. Your living room takes on the exact same lighting.


Bear in mind that whatever is on tv could theoretically come out of the tv into your livingroom. There is obviously massive artistic potential in something like this and you could write an essay on this concept alone.


At sports events


Spectators see live updating stats at sporting events and could even access replays (taken from the proper TV cameras at the stadium). Of course they would be able to replay their own personal footage too.


Different perspectives of certain incidents could be shared between spectators sat in different areas.


Football fans could see the number of corners, shots on and off target, who had been booked etc or select a certain player to keep track of their personal stats as the game progresses. If a player is taking a penalty, you could be shown where they have aimed their previous penalties. If there was a freekick you could be shown the spot where the ball should be placed (referees could even use this system). There could also be a circle surrounding the ball showing how far away the opposing team needs to be stood from the ball which would be helpful when the opposing team have their wall too close. On game days when many games are being played simultaneously, all game scores and statistics can be updated live and viewable. Personal videos of goals and incidents from all games could obviously be shared in real time all around the world too. Those who believe this will hurt profits will want this controlled obviously.


At golf tournaments or any sport where multiple contests happen simultaneously, multiple live streams of several players could be available.


An athletics event like the Olympics is a good example for use of multiple camera feeds for different contests, spectators could have access to multiple events simultaneously. In a huge stadium where the high jump is taking place at the opposite end of the stadium, spectators would be able to access close ups. Post-event interviews would be viewable. In racing events, just like with video games like Mario Kart, a "ghost" could run around the track with the athletes so that the crowd can see where the world/tournament record holder would be in relation to the people currently racing.




Live stage performances could be acted out with the majority of the set, costume and make up etc being augmented reality. Virtual characters could be used and even take central roles in the performance. Like mentioned above in the section about live musical performances, this gives an opportunity to easily turn the whole venue into a virtual environment rather than have it confined to the stage.




See modern iphone apps for an idea. Point at what you are interested in to access info. Slowly scan across the sky and see the constellations connected with lines. Have live updates from other astronomers telling you interesting things to look at that night. Point at certain areas of the sky to access the best imagery we have of that particular area.

command: "highlight all visible constellations"

command: "highlight all objects within 100 light years"

command: "highlight all stars thought to be near the end of their lives"

command: "show me what the sky will look like in 2 hours time" Here you will see all the stars literally look like they have shifted. The prog will automatically erase the current stars from their positions and place them elsewhere.


Virtual Payments


The smartphone is now beginning to be used for payments in the "real world" and this will cross over into AR.


Everywhere there is a collection jar now, there could also be a virtual collection jar in AR. Buskers could have a virtual payment option, as could live bands playing in bars and clubs. Charity shops could have a virtual collection jar outside the store and so on. It would be possible to directly "select" a person and make a payment/donation.


It would be possible to have a very simple vending machine that didn't accept physical money. It's entire interface would be in AR, so no physical buttons or even a window. You would see the selection, make the virtual payment and the machine would release the item.



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