Are Smart Glasses Dumb?: Page 2

Google and other companies are working on augmented reality gadgets you wear on your face. Will you want one?
Posted November 14, 2012

Mike Elgan

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The category includes sci-fi projects like Google Glass and other smart glasses, as well as things like "quantified life" type applications and even the fitness tracker type gadgets already on the market.

I'm absolutely certain that smart glasses will be a huge hit over the next decade for vertical applications, including military, medical, industrial and other areas.

But consumers aren't going to embrace these gadgets in huge numbers for the following three reasons.

Why Consumers May Reject Smart Glasses

1. You're aiming a camera at people.

When people wear these devices all the time, you can't know if they're filming you or taking your picture. If you don't agree that this could make people nervous, try aiming your camera phone at people while you're talking to them. It's going to be socially awkward.

Gadget makers may add a light that tells you when the cameras are running, but you're still aiming a camera and people can't be sure.

2. You're going to look like a geek.

Wearing smart glasses will be akin to riding a Segway -- cool technology, but viewed by the public as something dorky.

There's nothing wrong with Geeks, of course. I'm a geek myself, and don't mind looking like one, as my kids would be happy to tell you.

But geeks are a minority, and we're talking about the larger consumer marketplace.

3. One-eyed displays are psychologically uncomfortable.

When you beam a display into one eye, but not both eyes, the effect is subtly disturbing -- like 3D glasses.

There are some people who don't mind 3D glasses, and others who do. For the most part, however, 3D TV technology has been largely rejected by consumers for that reason.

Yes, companies are selling a lot of 3D-capable TVs. But are people watching in 3D? Generally speaking, most consumers choose 2D over 3D because sending different messages to each eye is profoundly unnatural and unsettling.

Personally, I'm looking forward to these smart glasses products, especially Google Glass. I will wear them. I will just aim the camera at people. I won't care how they look. And I'll deal with the uncomfortable feeling that will result from a one-eye display.

You might, too.

But for the vast majority of consumers, this category of mobile computer will not compute.

As cool as they are, I predict that consumers will think smart glasses are dumb.

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Tags: Google, augmented reality, Gadgets

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