In his blog, AEL Director Blair MacIntyre discusses the pitfalls of Google’s mockup video of the potential of Project Glass, their wearable computing project that puts a small heads-up display in the users peripheral vision. His comments and further analysis were picked up in a series of news stories in (among other places) Wired, The Christian Science Monitor, CNET and PC Magazine.
Augmented Reality’s Path From Science Fiction to Future Fact
Wired – April 13, 2012
There can be a very thin line between fantasy and science. Fantasy drives science. Set aside Geordi’s visor and today’s augmented reality glasses for a moment. Instead, look at some original Star Trek episodes to see handheld, long-range wireless communication devices and voice-input and omnipresent and seemingly omnipotent computing half a century before these nonexistent technologies became things we take for granted. Sometimes fiction is littered with outright hints about the future. You did see a version of the iPad, didn’t you, in Pixar’s The Incredibles, released while Apple was secretly working on the device, and both companies were controlled by Steve Jobs?… Blair MacIntyre, director of the Augmented Environments Lab at Georgia Tech, agreed, and got to the heart of the matter: “Is it augmented reality, or is it location-based notifications? It’s going to generate ideas in people and expectations that just might not match.”
Augmented Reality experts hit out at Google’s Project Glass
CNET – April 8, 2012
Google’s Project Glass eyewear caused quite a stir when the company unveiled it this week. But now two augmented reality experts have cast doubts on whether Google could pull off what’s shown in the promo video with the hardware. “The small screen seen in the photos cannot give the experience the video is showing,” Pranav Mistry of MIT Labs told Wired. If that’s true, it’s no wonder Google’s Sergey Brin was keeping the glasses to himself at a recent charity event. Blair MacIntyre, director of the Augmented Environments Lab at Georgia Tech, was just as doubtful. “You could not do AR with a display like this,” he said. “The small field of view, and placement off to the side, would result in an experience where the content is rarely on the display and hard to discover and interact with. But it’s a fine size and structure for a small head-up display.” So maybe it’ll be more suited to showing information than interacting with it. MacIntyre thinks Google has overstretched itself. “In one simple fake video, Google has created a level of over-hype and over-expectation that their hardware cannot possibly live up to.”
Cracks in the Hype: Can Google’s Glasses Actually Do What it’s Promoting?
PC Magazine – April 8, 2012
Well, the glasses are real, at least — that’s Google’s augmented reality glasses, the much-talked-about “shades” that were just recently seen adorning the noggin of Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Google’s even released a concept video about its so-called “Project Glass,” showing off some scenarios where the glasses’ small, single display can add additional detail and context about all the details of a person’s everyday life… Georgia Tech‘s Blair MacIntyre, director of the university’s Augmented Environments Lab, is a bit blunter in an interview with Wired’s Roberto Baldwin. “In one simple fake video, Google has created a level of over-hype and over-expectation that their hardware cannot possibly live up to,” MacIntyre says. According to MacIntyre, the size of the single screen that’s placed right in front of a user’s eyeball is more akin to a tiny heads-up display than the full-picture augmented reality shown in Google’s promotional video. Additionally, it’s going to be exceedingly difficult for Google to create an identical text overlay across varying levels of external brightness: Users will notice a distinct difference in the quality of the glasses’ display between the lighting setup of a typical office and the bright outdoors, for example.
Google glasses – how groovy life could be. But when will they really work?
Christian Science Monitor – April 5, 2012
Google has sparked an online tizzy with its Project Glass video, a breezy, aspirational clip depicting life after we all sport the search giant’s snazzy new designer spectacles that put the digital world at our, er, nose-tips, from the moment we rise. . . . Bloggers such as Blair MacIntyre, director of the Augmented Reality Lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, ask the obvious questions, such as “is it a good idea for Google to hype expectations about a product that it cannot possibly deliver?” The future product’s technology builds on many existing smart functions, such as location-based technology and targeted advertising. But, points out Mr. MacIntyre, many of those technologies have also fallen short of expectations. “I was an early adopter with those apps,” he says, but notes that after fumbling through notification after notification of only mildly useful information flowing incessantly into his smart phone, “I stopped looking at each one as it came in.”
Google Glasses Face Serious Hurdles, Augmented-Reality Experts Say
Wired News – April 5, 2012
When Google officially unveiled Project Glass — the company’s bid to develop Terminator-style augmented-reality glasses — we saw a provocative glimpse of the future. The video Google released yesterday showed us the point of view of someone wearing the glasses, with icons, maps and other graphical overlays appearing over the user’s complete field of vision. Accompanying photos, meanwhile, showed us how the new glasses might look — but the glasses weren’t really glasses. Instead, we saw a system that lacked full lenses, and included just a small, rectangular pieces of glass hovering over the wearer’s right eye… Blair MacIntyre, director of the Augmented Environments Lab at Georgia Tech, concurs: “You could not do AR with a display like this. The small field of view, and placement off to the side, would result in an experience where the content is rarely on the display and hard to discover and interact with. But it’s a fine size and structure for a small head-up display.” Mistry does point out that the Project Glass demo is a concept video. But MacIntyre believes Google may have set the bar too high for itself. “In one simple fake video,” MacIntyre told Wired, “Google has created a level of over-hype and over-expectation that their hardware cannot possibly live up to.”