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The Future of Smart Glasses And The State Of VR Headsets

We are living in exciting times, with compelling technology quickly emerging. The future of smart glasses and VR headsets is spawning new debates among futurists, technologists, and average consumers about the benefits that each device will bring us. As part of our ongoing series about the latest digital revolution technologies shaping society’s future, we’re going to take an in-depth look at both sides of the debate so you can decide for yourself which type of face computer will win out in the end. Let’s start by taking a brief look back at where things started before moving on to what may be coming nextThe Beginning Of Wearable TechnologyThere was once something called Google Glass. It was supposed to change everything, but it somehow managed to annoy everyone when it launched. It was supposed to change everything because it was the first in what many people hoped would be a wave of devices that make us better at our jobs, help us stay in contact with each other (and know when we’re about to get in trouble), and give us more time to enjoy life by guiding us through all its complexities. All this sounded great – but somehow, Google Glass only managed to annoy everyone when it launched. People complained that wearing Glass made them look like cyborgs, or worse yet, reminded them of another era when people constantly felt under surveillance (and not much has changed since then). But Google’s response wasn’t much better. The company wanted Glass users to keep their glasses on no matter what. They wanted people to wear them while they slept, showered, and did work. It was all too much for anyone who wasn’t looking to sacrifice their privacy – or who didn’t want everyone else in the room staring at them wearing face computers.The Google Glass product that eventually reached consumers had a camera that many felt should have been disabled by default. You couldn’t take pictures unless you specifically told it to do so, but even then, the glasses were kind of awkward when it came time to share pictures with friends. And here’s where we start mentioning VR headsets again: Many VR headset makers agree that taking pictures and recording video inside virtual reality is just an invitation for bad stuff to happen (like embarrassing footage). So one step forward, two steps back. Early adopters of Glass might have gotten more social acceptance points for wearing VR headsets (assuming they fit together well). But the key difference between Google Glass and modern-day headsets is that your field of view in Glass was locked at a relatively narrow window through which you could see the world. It might have looked cool, but it wasn’t immersive by any means. You had to keep turning your head around to get the same effect as you would with a current-day Oculus Rift – something that most people are tiring after about 30 seconds or so.The Rise Of Smart GlassesTechnology has come a long way, even with camera sunglasses 1080p, since wearable glasses with LCD screens were first floated out there as the next big thing. The idea of smart glasses has evolved, and the technology behind them has improved exponentially since Google Glass first launched – bringing us to where we are today (but not quite there yet). There’s a new wave of startups hoping to make wearables cool again with devices that look more like normal eyeglasses or sunglasses. No one wants to feel like they’re wearing a face computer anymore, which is why this updated generation of smart glasses will have to offer much better resolution screens, lots of valuable apps people want to use, and hopefully even longer battery life.The State Of Smart Glasses TodayToday’s best-in-class smart glasses also come with voice activation features that allow you to tell your device what you need, rather than having to tap around or swipe on a tiny touchpad. You can interact with your smart glasses in natural language without looking like you’re talking into thin air (or that you have some speech impediment). And these devices come with apps that help you do useful things – from finding the nearest bus stop to listening to music while exercising. Vuzix has even integrated Amazon Alexa support right into its line of Smart Glasses. That means you could ask Alexa for help while wearing your glasses, and she’ll be able to hear and respond through the device’s speakers – offering up audio feedback for whatever it is you need.The State Of VR Headsets TodayToday, virtual reality headsets are a lot more sophisticated than those first Google Glass headsets we discussed earlier. They’re now equipped with motion controllers and voice assistants that allow you to control your environment by moving around, talking to these devices as if they were normal computers, and asking for help when needed. As far as saving the world goes, VR headsets are also a lot more helpful today – especially if you look at what’s going on in education. There’s a growing number of good virtual reality apps out there designed to make learning fun again (whereas too many schools have banned them from classrooms). Users can experience taking part in historic events like the Apollo 11 Moon landing or explore 3D models of cells using an Oculus Rift headset. And then you’ve got things like science-based games that people can use to experience what it’s like to be inside a human body or even solve puzzles using their hands in an immersive virtual reality environment. For more information go to (Article written by Jamie Roy, guest editor)

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