Pi Attitude Zone: Self-Fulfilment

Through a Google Glass, Darkly

Glass Man cometh.  The field of “personal wearable technology” is advancing with the spread of of Google Glass, or “intelligent eyewear”.  Whether the advance is forward or sideways or into interplanetary space is the subject of keen debate.

The tech itself is impressive, if somewhat bizarre. Suspended from Glass’s colored titanium ear-mounted frame-band is a tiny video screen – oh, sorry, an “Optical Head-Mounted Display”.  There’s a forward-facing video camera, a microphone sensor at the tip of the wearer’s eyebrow, a button to press near your right ear, and a touch-pad to flick sideways to engage functions, supplementing the product’s built-in voice activation.  Ear-buds for sound?  Puh-leaseAudio is conveyed cranially through a “bone-conduction transducer”.  Well, you asked.

They certainly notice you wearing these things, say Glass pioneers.  But what exactly do people notice?  The fact that your right eye constantly moves up and down, like a nervous tic?  The manic-seeming head-jerking?  The obsessive finger-flicking along the sensor pad?  The distant, disconnected lazy-eye look that dulls Glass Man’s gaze when he is supposedly interacting with his fellow human beings?  The bemused (and sometimes fatuous) grin on his face?  His frequent requests to “Say that again, please”?

In San Francisco and Silicon Valley, where Google Glass wearers have become a common sight, they are already calling the product’s aficionados “glassholes”.  In New York City, early-adopter male Glass-users reported that they were enough of a novelty to attract admiring comments, often from unattached members of the fair sex.  “Heyyy, you’ve got those glasses...”

So is this innovative new product the ultimate conversation-booster?  Well, up to a point.  The trouble is, the Law Of Unintended Consequences quickly obtrudes.  The real giveaway is that anyone wearing Google Glass clearly regards the person they are talking to as a lot less interesting than whatever is simultaneously appearing on their little private video screen.

And that’s a problem.  A girl attracted into conversation with a guy by his futuristic cyborg eyewear will quickly notice that his gaze keeps shifting upwards to his Optical Head-Mounted Display.  Not very flattering, if you’re deploying your full feminine charm in an effort to engage him socially. 

Pi’s suggestion for what to say to him?  “Hey, I’m down here, glasshole”. 

Zone: Self-Fulfilment Country: USA / North America Product – Consumer Products