Augmented reality and smart glasses are the future, so it seems. Wearing your computer on your face as a heads-up device in the form of spectacles sounds like a very good solution for untethered activities of all kinds.
But we should forget Google Glass
. It was a first attempt, a tentative stumble into a rich augmented world of information, entertainment and communication. Glass was awkward to wear and not very easy to use. Many of us wanted to have content delivered straight into our vision or superimposed on the real world as we travelled, but not many of us wanted to look like freaks. Even today, wearing new versions of Glass with its obtrusive camera units still make you look like you just walked off a SciFi movie set.
Now, several companies have built on the initial concept of Glass and have developed more stylish, discreet versions of wearable augmented reality
. The first, Intel's Vaunt, uses very low level laser emitters to send digital content straight to your retina. It is almost indistinguishable from a conventional pair of spectacles. Take a look at the promotional video:
Another wearable AR device that has a conventional appearance is the Vue, which comes complete with audio connections that work via a bone conduction system. Vue enables all the functions you might expect, including hands free phone calls, augmented reality content, environmental control and activity tracking. It is also adaptable, coming in a variety of frames, with reactive glass and also in the form of conventional sunglasses. Here's the promotional video for Vue:
Here's one more smart glasses device for you to consider: This one looks a little strange when you wear it, but it is a personal technology designed for use in specialised environments. yes, it can be used for entertainment, but the Microsoft Hololens is probably best applied in the workplace. Hololens takes from the best of both worlds - both augmented and virtual reality technologies. In fact, it's called mixed reality, because the user is able to interact with virtual worlds, but without being fully immersed in the virtual world. Below is the promotional video which highlights some specific uses for the device in the work environment:
At the top of this page you'll see a diagram I repurposed from a presentation I gave in 2010. It explains the virtuality continuum, showing where each of the devices above might be placed. As we adopt more wearable technologies, we enter into a world where information becomes more available, and can be superimposed upon the real world around us. We are still discovering ways to engage learners and enhance learning using these emerging technologies. Smart glasses are still in their infancy, but will grow quickly as we find new ways to exploit them in authentic contexts.
Future vision by Steve Wheeler
was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's