Groovy glasses: Google to introduce augmented reality goggles

Google goggles
Image from The New York Times
In the recent past, people have become quite used to seeing people talk to themselves in the street.

Watching individuals talking with their hands, shouting or having heated conversations with apparently no one have become the norm for those who use headphones, with microphones, attached to their mobile device.

Hands free, it’s all the rage.

Now, Google will introduce a set of goggles that can augment reality, that is lay a set of virtual information over the image of physical objects through the lens of the glasses. Cleverly called, Google Goggles, this invention could mean big news in the world of aug. comm. and assistive technology.

The glasses are not designed to be worn constantly. Much like the applications on smartphones, the glasses will only be used when needed. However, it is pretty safe to say that some users will be wearing them quite a bit.

“It will look very strange to onlookers when people are wearing these glasses,” William Brinkman, graduate director of the computer science and software engineering department at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio told The New York Times. “You obviously won’t see what they can from the behind the glasses. As a result, you will see bizarre body language as people duck or dodge around virtual things.”

This bizarre body language will come from the actions users must take in order to select what they want to view in the glasses. Similar to the virtual reality games, where users wear large headsets to maneuver virtual spaces, the goggles will respond to motion in order to activate certain services.

Such services include identification of buildings and people, text and contact information.

Using the same Android technology that powers smartphones and tablets, the goggles are equipped with GPS and motion sensors. They will also contain a camera and audio inputs and outputs.

Soon, people may look up at a building through these glasses and be able to see its historical background as well as read comments about it left by their friends. Directions will become step by step instructions.

Even advertising will morph into something new.

Mr. Brinkman said he was very excited by the possibilities of the glasses, but acknowledged that the augmented reality glasses could pose some ethical issues.

“In addition to privacy, it’s also going to change real-world advertising, where companies can virtually place ads over other people’s ads,” he told The Times. “I’m really interested in seeing how the government can successfully regulate augmented reality in this sense. They are not really going to know what people are seeing behind those glasses.”

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