A virtual reality interface overlaid on top of your field of vision that allows you to interact with real objects using gestures... This is where we would usually make some kind of back-handed reference to a technology from a sci-fi TV show, but even Roddenberry didn't see this one coming.
The US patent office released an application today from Google entitled "Wearable Computer with Superimposed Controls and Instructions for External Device" The device is described below.
A wearable computing device includes a head-mounted display (HMD) that provides a field of view in which at least a portion of the environment of the wearable computing device is viewable. The HMD is operable to display images superimposed over the field of view. When the wearable computing device determines that a target device is within its environment, the wearable computing device obtains target device information related to the target device. The target device information may include information that defines a virtual control interface for controlling the target device and an identification of a defined area of the target device on which the virtual control image is to be provided. The wearable computing device controls the HMD to display the virtual control image as an image superimposed over the defined area of the target device in the field of view.
Imagine you walk up to your refrigerator and see images overlaid on the door that show you what is inside, and how much of it. You open the door by waving your hand in front of it, and then tap a few buttons projected onto the door to order more milk from your local grocery delivery service. Maybe this seems a bit abstract, after all I'm happy with how my refrigerator operates, more or less.
Picture yourself using eye gestures and/or voice commands to open or close your garage door, that is the example that Google used in its patent application along with several others. But the implications of this technology are only limited by the imaginations of developers and manufacturers. The idea is to use infrared QR codes, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC or a combination of these technologies to allow Glass to interact with objects around your workplace or home. Of course, Glass has yet to actually go on sale, and in order for developers and other 3rd parties to get on board and actually make this fantastic vision of the future a reality Glass will have to be a popular product that can actually be worn in public while still being socially acceptable.
Can you see this becoming a part of your everyday life?