As you get hungry, you look around for a place to eat. You visually pause as you scan the street, and menus pop up with prices, along with the current estimated wait time for a table at the better establishments. "Not bad at all," you think.
You decide to wear these little gadgets on the camping trip with your son's scout troop. You are not much of an outdoorsman, but that's no problem at all. Along the trail you spot an interesting-looking plant, and the "smart bubble" pops up over a leaf, after which you proudly spout off that it is a Toxicodendron rydbergii, better known by its common name -- poison ivy. And just to earn extra points with your son's friends, you casually add, "It was, of course, first described by Captain John Smith in 1609."
This view of the future is not some hypothetical sci-fi cartoon. It (or some beta version) is just around the corner. Complaints have emerged from privacy advocates and others concerned with the intrusion of technology into our lives. These issues will have to be sorted through by tech philosophers and the legal system, but we will get there very shortly, one way or another.
Now, where do I find the X-ray mode on these things? Wow… cool!
Charles Murray; And that might be the first spin-off. In the early days of answering machines I knew someone who had a telephone answering machine, but refused to leave a message on one herself. Anonymous web surfing services are available now. There will be people who want the advantage of instant information on whoever or whatever pops into view. But they will want anonymity. For a price, they will be able to be 'unlisted' , or have 'restricted access' in the Google Goggle system.
I believe Dean Orsak is correct about tech philosophers having to sort through the privacy issues, and he's also correct that the technology will eventually get here, ready or not. Remember all the squawking about Caller ID and the associated privacy issues? The technology arrived, the debate grew and then waned. Now almost everyone has Caller ID.
Dan has offered a really good application idea for the system, and that could indeed be a positive benefit. "BIG boost for the disabled DanSchwartzBut I don't think that the google ads would be switched off to save a life, let alone relieve a handicap. So while I agree that there could be a great benefit I don't see the advertising community allowing it to happen. Money almost always gets it's way. But that is the one place that possibly the ads might be eliminated. Of course it is also possible that the units would also be sold by some company that specializes in helping the impaired.
WilliamK - That's exactly what I was thinking as I was reading the article. Everywhere you look there will be ads embedded - and I'll be they've learned their lesson to lock down the technology so you can't block the pop-ups or other ads.
I can quickly see use for this technology for two constituencies in the disabled community, for abilities most take for granted:
First off, even the basic heads-up display is a G-dsend: One of the things we depend on is CapTel (captioned telephone), which is conducting a regular voice phone call, and having the other party being monitored by a relay operator who also transcribes the call, with the text appearing on our phone like this: http://www.CaptionCall.com or appear on our mobile like this: http://sprint800.com/what-captel
Now, let's say you're hearing mpaired, and walking down the street while talking to someone on your mobile: Instead of holding the phone up to your hearing aids or cochlear implant (CI) -- And missing many words -- or looking down to read the captions, instead the words come into our ears, and then appear in front of our eyes a second or two later. Pretty cool, ehh?
For the cognitively impaired, overlaying information on landmarks while walking about (as a sort of "heads-up GPS") would be very helpful.
Lastly, for those who are cognitively impaired when it comes to recognizing faces -- Or more accurately, connecting a familiar face to a name (which is absolutely maddening, as that's me) -- this would be a huge help.
For much more, talk to the good people at the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center at Gallaudet in DC: http://www.hearingresearch.org/
Dan Schwartz Editor, The Hearing Blog http://www.TheHearingBlog.com
Google Goggles (neat name!) or their equivalent WILL happen. The gap between the Luddites and the technogeeks will continue to widen with some spill-over. Tablets are the wave of the future, or they have absolutely no use in a polite society. I imagine there is sufficient gee-whiz market for these to pay-off R&D and gearing up of manufacturing. The half-life of the 1st edition will probablly be measured in weeks rather than months. Introduction of hardware and software will determine interest and Google undoubtably has enough changes available for introduction if interest continues. It'll be intersting to watch as this develops.
Good point, William. But that's what you can expect from Google? The company has a great search engine and a ton of other technology, but at its core, Google is a company whose purpose is to serve up advertising. The search function is just a vehicle for advertising.
Just picture the quantity of truly obnoxious advertising that you could be blasted with if you ever wore a set of these goggles. And is there any other possible reason that Google would push for such a creation? We are far better off when we can keep our minds a bit private, and this creation would completely open up a huge segment of our existance to the advertising folks at Google. So I would once again pose the question: Just because they can, should they? The advertising would probably be far more invasive than much of what"big brother" would do.
So society would be best served if this creation is a commercial failure.
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In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.