A model named Emily wears a design prototype for Google's augmented reality glasses.
Credit: Google | Project Glass
Google Glasses will likely fall short of the futuristic eyewear promised by Google's marketing blitz when the first models ship to developers in the next several weeks. But smart glasses technology could eventually transform daily life by delivering the equivalent of total recall for human brains.
Today's Google Glasses eyewear resembles more of a glorified, head-mounted smartphone than an augmented reality device. Yet experts have already begun anticipating second-generation apps for smart glasses that allow people to recall any face they had ever seen or revisit any past conversation, according to IEEE Spectrum.
The promise of total recall goes hand-in-hand with the ability to instantly run a Google search anywhere and have the world's knowledge at your fingertips at any given moment. A smart glasses wearer could even use such power to impress and win over dates on the fly — a possibly scary vision explored by a short film called "Sight."
Having both total recall and augmented cognition could prove truly revolutionary compared to the basic augmented reality idea of having contextual information about the world appear as virtual displays, said Rod Furlan, an artificial intelligence researcher and angel investor. Furlan described how he built a cruder version of today's Google Glasses based on existing technology in an IEEE Spectrum article.
The market versions of Google Glasses may not deliver perfect total recall when they ship to consumers in 2014. But the Google name association has already created early buzz for smart glasses technology and thrown a temporary lifeline to companies that tried to build earlier versions of such devices.
If early adopters latch onto smart glasses, the market could expand from less than $1 million today to $700 million by 2016, said Theo Ahadome, a senior analyst at British market research firm IMS, in an IEEE Spectrum interview. The $700 million figure could even expand to several billion if mainstream consumers get on board.
Source: IEEE Spectrum
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