Google Glass is arguably the loudest contender in the wearable tech industry. While plenty of other companies are doing pretty well for themselves in this arena–Apple, Samsung, and Motorola, to name a few–none have managed to raise as many eyebrows as the search engine giant. Google’s vision for the future of personal connectivity has garnered as much praise as it has derision. However no matter what you think of it, Google Glass is only the beginning–the first shaky baby step in a journey of a thousand miles.
Although Glass has been in production at Google for several years, it was first released to the public–albeit in a very controlled manner–in April 2013. The device is essentially a wearable computer that allows the user to be constantly aware of such communication as email, messages, phone calls or internet via a tiny LED display slightly above the right eye. The device has a touchpad on the side through which the user can control the contents of the screen, and Glass can also respond to spoken commands. It has a camera that can take photographs and shoot 720p HD video.
But Google is not stopping there. Clearly this is only the beginning of their quest to get their tech onto–or even into–your body. The tech giant has recently secured a patent for a camera so tiny that is can be mounted onto a contact lens. This device will reportedly be capable of capturing photos and video without disruption to the wearer’s field of vision. The ramifications of such a natural, unobtrusive entry in the wearable tech are potentially huge. From a creative standpoint to a commercial one, these lenses would change the way we record the world around us. Some have even speculated that they could benefit the visually impaired by sensing objects or motion that the person themselves could not. A blind person, for example, could be warned of impending hazards even though they could not see them. The lenses could even have the ability to detect faces and compare them to a database, which could help the visually impaired–or the chronically forgetful–to recognize someone they know.
Given this one tiny step, not that far removed from Google Glass to begin with, we are introduced to a whole new world of technological potential and wonder. Medical nanotech swirling through our veins? Neural implants connecting our minds to one central server? Electronic enhancements to make us smarter, quicker, better in any one of a million conceivable ways? The answers are yes, yes, yes…if we wait long enough. However there is no question that Google is making efforts–and impressive ones at that–to make the wait a shorter one. In fact, executives at Google has even estimated that computers will become conscious sometime around 2029.
There can be little argument that Google is making the biggest, riskiest moves in wearable tech right now. Google Glass is widely considered the boldest move in the industry, certainly much more in-your-face than a wristwatch or a smartphone, but it seems to be only the beginning of their plans for the future of wearable technology. Only time will tell what wonders await.
By Peter Barreda