Thus far, only excitement has followed the recent wave of augmented reality headsets (Google Glasses, Olympus' Meg 4.0). But no one has stopped to consider the possible negative repercussions that may come with these fancy pieces of eyewear. Steve Mann, however, got to experience those repercussions firsthand.
Said to be the "father of augmented reality" and "father of wearable computing," Mann has been researching and creating various headsets for decades. His gear doesn't record like the Google Glasses do, though; instead, his recent wearables (the EyeTap) actually help people with sight-related issues. This didn't stop him from being attacked by what Mann claims were McDonald's employees in Paris, France.
McDonald's has refuted this, claiming that their employees were only helpful. Mann also has some proof in the form on pictures taken by his EyeTap. Ironically, since the device only helps with sight, it doesn't normally take pictures; but due to attempts by the perpetrators to forcefully remove the device from Mann's head, the EyeTap malfunctioned and started taking pictures of those in sight. This was also after the perpetrators had ripped up various doctors' notes describing Mann's need for the headgear.
This may be seen as the first major incident involving augmented reality glasses since the new wave of interest has appeared. The big question on everyone's minds now though, is: What will happen when Google and other companies try to make these glasses mainstream? Will passerbys react violently, claiming rights for privacy?
Sources: sott.net, slashgear, dailymail.co.uk
Last week, Google showed off their latest advances with their Google Glasses: several professionals jumped out of a helicopter, equipped with the Google Glasses Explorer Edition, and made their way towards the I/O 2012 Event. This week, we're seeing two other companies who may possibly tred along the same path of technological-eyewear: Apple and Olympus.
Olympus' headgear doesn't actually have a camera like the Google Glasses do, nor are they a standalone-unit. Instead, the augmented reality spectacles will connect via bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet. Olympus boasts that the Meg 4.0, the current prototype, will last for 8 hours; however, they expect users to use the glasses in 15-second spurts every three minutes, which just doesn't seem as feasible.
Meanwhile, Apple doesn't even have a working unit yet. Their big news comes in the form of a patent granted to them earlier this week. The patent allows for a dual-lens, dual-HUD eyeglass that projects images directly to your eyes. This would provide a more immersed experience than just simple glasses. Also, by using stereoscopic projection, the user would more likely avoid motion-sickness.
The Olympus augmented-reality glasses have no current release date, and Apple's "iGlass" (for lack of an official name) hasn't even been touted as a product idea - a patent doesn't necessarily mean there's already a game-plan behind it. However, if Apple does join the fray, then we'd be closer to centralizing our market on eyewear and heads-up displays...which definitely can't be a bad thing.
Sources: slashgear, gizmodo