Google Glass and the ‘Iron Man effect’

So Google revealed one their newest, most innovative developments earlier this year: Project Glass. The device acts as an augmented reality head-mounted display, or more simply ‘eyeglass frame’; basically like wearing a pair of glasses, except with lots more techy stuff inside! The glasses project a small display in your vision, which is expected to act as a sort of guide to helping you find out about your surroundings, find your way etc. much like a smart phone would do.

In many ways this is the next step from smartphones, due to its hands-freeness. Once again the need for humans to become even lazier has been met by a device that saves you the effort of touching keys on your phone. Pressing buttons seemed too much effort, so the smart phone enabled us to do the same thing with light fingerprint touches. Now even this seems too much like hard work, so we’ve resorted to voice commands (a la Siri). Likewise Google Glass, among its competitors will incorporate voice commands into its design, creating what I like to call the ‘Iron Man effect’.

The Iron Man effect is something I just coined (or just made up, I don’t think ‘coined’ is the right word – I doubt it’ll catch on), right this minute, and is something I would love to see happen, because I, like many of us guys, would like to be more like Iron Man. Actually no, I would like to have Iron Man’s technology. Whilst Iron Man (as portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.) is witty and as suave as James Bond, he’s also very egotistical, and a massive douche (can I say that?).

Anyway, back on track. The Iron Man effect refers to modern day technology to start showing glimpses of actually emulating the truly amazing and innovative technology that boggles our mind on the recent(ish) Iron Man films – from all the interactive visual displays in Tony Stark’s lab to the AI in his suit. To me the voice command feature of Siri, and now Google Glass are doing just that. Also if you’ve seen Leap Motion, you’ll see the Iron Man effect in respect to the interactive visual display thingys I was going on about.

So what I want to know is what you all think about this new piece of technology? Do you think it’s going to be the next must have gadget, or a quick flash in the pan? There are plenty of competitors bringing out similar products, so this sort of device is starting to become quite a serious idea. I think it can go either way, depending on how Google and co. decide to market it (and price it). Aesthetically Google’s Project Glass eyeglass frames don’t look all that bad, whereas the Vuzix Smart Glasses just look make you look like a slightly futuristic call-centre worker. In that way they may create the same effect as Bluetooth headsets – make you look like an idiot, much like how strapping your phone to your belt did way back when (remember that?).

The big question is, is there a demand for this concept (outside of course from the military, who use similar such products already), or is it just a hopeful lunge into the market? Yes the Iron Man effect is hard to ignore, and it is difficult to resist the lure of realising the dream of becoming that little bit more like Tony Stark (minus the ego etc.), but how much easier will it make my life? And will it make me look like a moron? Mind you any hat makes me look like a moron, so I’m a bad example. But you catch my drift…

Written by Joe Topliffe
Twitter: @joetopliffe

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