Google’s Augmented Reality Concept Video

Its Project Glass augmented reality scheme looks cool, creepy, and inevitable

1 min read
Google’s Augmented Reality Concept Video

Google[x], the company’s Mountain View, Calif., skunkworks, has released a concept video for an augmented reality project it’s been working on. Called Project Glass, it seems to hope to bring the web, location services, and social media straight to your eyeballs, with nothing in between.

In the video, a New Yorker with too much time on his hands, puts on his augmented reality specs in the morning and then goes through his (pointless, pointless) day. He does things that you would generally use a good smartphone for: weather updates, train service, texting, video calls. But he does them all without touching anything. He looks at the sky and the weather report pops up before his eyes. He takes pictures, makes notes, and gets directions just by talking to his glasses. (The glasses don’t answer back. It’s not Siri.)

As Wired points out, one disturbing side to this is that in a world where everybody (or even a lot of somebodies) wear these spectacles, you will never know when you are being photographed or otherwise recorded.

One of the project leaders, you might not be surprised to find is, Babak Parvis. In a feature in the September 2009 issue of IEEE Spectrum, he detailed his University of Washington lab’s attempts to put augmented reality in a contact lens. Most recently his lab reported making a single-pixel contact lens. But this concept video seems to suggest Google expects the interface to be some kind of glasses.


Image: Raygun Studio

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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