As we are all waiting for Google's Project Glass to do something other than keep us nerds up at night wishing the future were already here, there is a possibility that researchers in Belgium might have already created the technology that will replace it. Researchers at Imec have created a curved LCD display that is roughly the size and shape of a contact lens. The idea is that this is the first step towards developing a "Google Glass" like heads up display (HUD) that would be able to project information right in front of you.
The implications are numerous for a technology like this. Everything from medical uses; possibly even helping those with severe vision issues being able to see again or helping doctors identify problems during surgery. But this isn't a medical journal, so lets look into some of the real world implications of this type of technology. Check out the video that Imec released below. Apparently they are already seeing dollar signs.
My first question is can you wear these contacts while driving? What happens when people around the country start driving off the road because they got caught up in reading a text message (not that doesn't happen now)? Emergencies do happen in real life, and no one wants a notification popping up while they are trying to do something important. Google Glass will be easy enough to take off or on when you are doing something that requires all of your attention. But that leads to an even more important question:
Will I look like a dork wearing Google Glass? The short answer is yes. I mean look at the girl in that picture, even she looks kinda dorky. It is technology, it is new, it will get some attention and not all of it will be positive. Hopefully it won't fall into the same fashion category as people who wear their phones on their belts and shout into Bluetooth earpieces all day, but that is a possibility. Any technology that makes people around you feel like they are being ignored is going to have some social stigmas to overcome. For the record, if Google Glass is anything like what we have seen in the promo videos that came out over the summer I will be the first to buy one and I will wear it to a funeral, if I have the chance with no shame whatsoever. But I understand that some people enjoy not being hated by everyone who sees them, so I'm not one to judge.
It will be interesting, over the next decade, as this HUD technology develops to see where it goes. Maybe Google Glass will change the world forever or maybe it will be a novelty in a few years, the betamax of HUD technology from a time before we could simply pop our smart phone into our eyes first thing in the morning. Time will tell.