Sunday, April 14, 2013

Augmented Reality and 100 Scenarios & Uses for Google Glasses

Google Glasses and other augmented reality (AR) visual technologies have generated substantial recent interest on the web. Proponents claim AR glasses are breakthrough technologies that exemplify the further integration of the organic, mechanic, and digital. Some of the main themes of critique have focused around privacy, design, issues of power, and questions of purpose. Click here for a breakdown of the “what and how” on Google Glasses. Project Glass collects here. I am bypassing the social-public-private-show-reveal-access debate to focus on tangible/realistic uses/applications of Google Glasses and like-AR technologies in the near-future.

After a brief introduction, I present 100 possible scenarios and uses for Google Glasses and AR technologies. Yes, 100.

What is Augmented Reality?
“Augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one. Augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. Artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world.” (Wiki, 2013).
Augmented reality can be achieved visually through head-mounts, eyeglasses (Google Glasses and similar ilk), contact lenses, virtual retinal displays, EyeTap, robotic eye implants, and more.

Google Glass
“Google Glass is a wearable computer with a head-mounted display (HMD) that is being developed by Google in the Project Glass research and development project, with the mission of producing a mass-market ubiquitous computer. Google Glass displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format,[5] that can interact with the Internet via natural language voice commands. While the frames do not currently have lenses fitted to them, Google is partnered with sunglass retailers Warby Parker, and may also open retail stores to allow customers to try on the device.The Explorer Edition cannot be used by people who wear prescription glasses, but Google has confirmed that Glass will eventually work with frames and lenses that match the wearer's prescription; the glasses will be modular and therefore possibly attachable to normal prescription glasses.” 
Google Glass Explorer Edition is shipping nowish to a select-few developers for the now famous $1,500 price tag. Major market influencers are invested in the development of consumer-based AR. VC firms Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, & Byers have teamed up with Google Ventures to form the Glass Collective that will fund the development of apps for this new genus of tech devices. Google Glass is for-real technology, and while only early days, future iterations will push the boundaries of AR technology with simultaneous drops in price tag for consumers.

The market will soon flood with more versions of AR glasses from straight-up DIY to competitive industry-strength models. GlassUP is one of these upstart competitors. Reporting for Slash Gear, Chris Davies notes:
"Be seeing you."
“GlassUp’s patented system uses a micro-projector fixed on the inside of the glasses arm. That focuses a yellow monochromatic image on the inner surface of the right lens, at 320 x 240 resolution. Not enough to replace your phone or tablet for multimedia duties, true, but certainly sufficient for text updates and basic graphics. Like Glass, there are a fair few sensors and controls integrated into the arm of the glasses: GlassUp has a touch-surface which recognizes tap and double-tap, long-press, and swipe, in addition to a power/control button. There’s also an accelerometer, digital compass, ambient light sensor, and altimeter.”
Eventually there will be numerous different sizes and shapes of AR glasses. There will be social glasses, the ones you wear in the world at-large (streamlined, built for social, with a focus on design and style), and professional glasses, the ones purposed exclusively toward work-related tasks that will be more technical than the social plug-and-play glasses versions.

100 Possible Uses and Scenarios for Google Glasses.

1. Presenters and lecturers will wear AR glasses to call-up information and prompts about presentations; voice call-up of information wireless streaming from laptop to projector; audience information and environment data streams

2. Public art exhibitions 

a. Integrate AR glasses technologies into art, allowing viewers to interact with real-world art in digital spaces; one part of the art is the actual piece in the physical world, the other part of the viewing experience is digital overlays that augment the art piece. 

b. As light changes, public art interacts differently with AR glasses: size, shape, overlays, & colors .

c. Allow AR glass wearers to digitally augment real world art pieces through voice command design tools (e.g. open shading tool, shade left quadrant), save image, and upload to net; the actual art piece is just the starting point.

3. Conservationists and naturalist use AR glasses to record field work, instant upload data to web servers that interact with other eco-conservation data to develop a global environmental updating digital eco-system map on the net.

4. Video Gaming
a. Enhanced information for players
b. Vocal commands that integrate into game play
c. Visual syncing with player POV in real life and player POV in gameplay
d. TeamVizSpeak through AR glasses
e. Pull-up additional maps, inventories, and in-game information through audio/visual command
f. 3D game-playing with AR as extension of graphics

5. Sports
a. Viewers will use AR glasses to sync to player AR glasses so the viewer can experience the game through the player’s vision (think about this one for a bit)
b. Coaches will use AR glass programs to teach perfect techniques and decision making; integrate this with virtual reality gaming, virtual gloves and shoes, and body suits
c. Players will wear AR glasses for enhanced performance (yes, get over it, nothing about modern sport is “natural,” and has not been for a long time)
d. Referees will wear AR glasses for enhanced call-decisions and multiple visual intake (is this the future of the offside call in soccer? A ref will be able to record the scene; instant playback from multiple angles; computer interface determines if off-side.
e. AR glasses that connect with physiological sensors collecting and analyzing biofeedback data such as VO2max, heart-rate, blood pressure, and lactose build-up.
f. Star players will wear AR to devastating effect; will leagues adopt a max one-player with AR glasses rule?; only one player can wear AR…make it count.
g. X-Sports POV videos: skateboarding, snowboarding, skydiving, motorcross, and mountain biking
h. AR imbeds under the skin of MMA fighters, wrestlers, martial artists, and boxers (likely use of AR contact lenses or bionic eyes for this group)
i. Extreme rock climbers will use AR glasses to chart best routes and gather environmental information

6. Democratech film-making: mini-POV films uploaded to YouTube, mini-slice-of-life filmmaking, cinéma vérité gone digital

7. Advertisements that are made specifically for visual recognition by AR glasses; interactive 3D ads

8. Interactive magazines, books, and music files; visual scan of object pulls up additional information, embedded AR only content

9. Mounted mini-glasses on dogs in dog parks

10. Life-loggers record their entire lives in real-time, instant upload to personal data servers

11. Use to track animal movement in nature

12. How about AR glasses under water integrated into scuba gear! The hell does that look like? It looks like awesome.

13. AR glasses used by aid workers to document atrocities

14. Glasses will be used by professional athletes during the games. Digital media producers will cue to “player vision cams” that will show, in POV, a player running back a kick-off, driving the lane in basketball, or checking some poor unfortunate rookie against the boards in hockey.

15. There is going to be a lot of porno made with these things people. Record and upload the moment of climax to social media channel of your choice in real time. 33 people like this. Some bro posts, “Nice.”

16. Rock climbing videos to show how ridiculously difficult rock climbing can be.

17. Videos demonstrating cooking techniques

18. Used by astronauts for doing science stuff

19. Police and military will wear these as a standard operating practice.

20. Activists will use them to document social injustices and neglected neighborhoods

21. Artists wear glasses while painting or sculpting to demonstrate techniques and creative processes

22. Mechanics wear industry specific AR glasses that scan the engine components and help diagnose problems.

23. Surgeons wear glasses as teaching tools while engaging in surgery.

24. Amateur nature recording

25. Messenger bikers use AR with vocal interfaces to talk while riding, plot travel routes, or chart crazy drivers

26. Used on job sites to send visual information about building projects to central servers for review by managers.

27. Used for safety on dangerous jobs: cell phone tower building and repair comes to mind.

28. Used by scientists at CERN to visually communicate across the wide spaces that it encompasses.

29. Pilots will wear them for additional flight data, plane instrument functioning, and environmental data streams

30. Glass technology integrated into regular prescription and non-prescription glasses

31. Use of AR glasses for enhanced book reading: pop-ups that give more information about the book, vocal commands that pull up web pages on the materials…you could create a fully immersive reader experience, pop-up images done by artists that illustrate parts of the book

32. Use of AR glasses for film viewing
a. 3D films with Google glasses take on new meaning and impact
b. Pop-ups with additional film info during viewing
c. Interactive viewership
d. Record viewer video reviews that can loaded to YouTube
e. Many pirated movies loaded as bit-torrents

33. Global music and art festivals
a. AR glasses wearers visual streamed on giant visual boards in open spaces
b. Concert-goers can dance in POV with other AR glasses wears around the globe projected on huge screens
c. Bands wear AR glasses with images streaming to giants screens
d. AR glasses users log into network; view the show from artists POV

34. Recording class lectures (with professor permission and class sign-off!?)

35. Power, gas, and electric workers wear glasses for safety and visual information flow to main control rooms

36. Orchestra conductors wear devices to enhance orchestration; provide audience POV view from orchestra pits

37. Actors and actresses in plays on stage wear glasses for line reading and visual information flow to audiences

38. Musicians will wear AR devices to view additional notations, audience information, access digital musical instruments via vocal commands

39. One-Person Band: Wearing AR devices, one could connect all manner of digital video and recording devices, link that with crazy Arduino-enhanced traditional instruments and various mixer technologies and you can create some seriously crazy music.

40. Use of AR devices to enhance sight for the legally blind or sight challenged.

41. Use of AR to help hearing challenged people by providing text information updates of environmental sounds

42. Use of AR to help physically challenged people navigate physical spaces via sensors

43. Easy voice-to-call interaction while on the go

44. Easy voice-to-text interaction while on the go

45. Use of tablet to boost processing power of AR glasses

46. Use of AR glasses for GPS enhanced direction finding

47. Use of AR glasses for those with physiological disabilities - send voice commands to robot-helper bots

48. Social apps that allow various AR users to upload and share visual data on the go; links to tablet for more functionalities

49. Use of AR devices and motion capture in film-making and green-screen production work

50. AR glasses that link to robot armies – one solider commands a legion of robots in theaters of war by voice commands

51. Human construction managers use AR glasses to direct robot workers on job sites

52. AR glasses overlay digital information to hikers about the natural environment they are walking in; enhanced hiking for the 21st century; Is that poison oak or ivy? Visual image query the web.

53. Clubs/bars that are AR glasses only; Clubs/bars that allow no AR visual devices

54. Public spaces where AR glass use is banned (although future iterations will be so light and streamline, it might be impossible to tell if someone is wearing these devices; will there be body scans that detect digital signature emissions coming from patrons, bouncers tell you to check your glasses at the coat check.

55. Geologists use AR glasses for enhanced viewing of natural elements, visual data collection, audio/visual field notes development

56. Future glasses will have pop-out circuitry; switch tech bits into new frames

57. Future glasses will have mod add-ons that can be purchased online to integrate more sensors and functionality

58. Development of Glass-specific software packages purposed for specific tasks in the workplace

59. First responder EMTs will wear AR glasses to scan bodies for wounds/trauma and make visually-enhanced diagnosis that will be wirelessly sent to doctors and assistants in ER rooms; call-up information on best practices when dealing with exceptional cases.

60. AR glasses will sync-up with all media devices: phone, laptop, and tablets, cloud based data storage and upload/download

61. Live syncing with other AR glass users; exchange vision with each other (think about this one for a while)

62. Vision-depth augmentation and vision-clarity augmentation (super human sight)

63. Heat sensors, x-ray vision sensors, motion sensors, depth sensors, and materials sensors

64. Visual QR and NFC scanning

65. Maps, GPS, and directions visual/audio interfaces

66. Public AR role-playing games where players use real world spaces for POV gaming experiences.

67. Stacking multiple images from linked-up AR glasses: like “Inception” viewing

68. AR glasses for playing pool to calculate perfect angles and velocities; the hustler in the 21st century

69. AR glasses while playing cards to calculate odds and for card counting; Vegas will not like this. Take the gun, leave the cannoli.

70. AR glasses that read human-movement linked to lie detection software and emotion recognition software

71. For bomb diffusion; upload live videos to teams of experts to help diffuse bombs in war theaters

72. Use AR glasses for mine detection and removal post-war

73. Lawyers will wear AR glasses to enhance court activities, read jury responses and mannerisms, read judge responses and mannerisms, call-up notes during oration

74. For use in home repair: house blueprints, pipe scanning, stud finders, etc.

75. Self-Health (the quantified self movement should be all over these devices)
a. Scan surfaces for germs and viruses
b. Scan personal body for exterior maladies
c. Scan body for potential malignant moles
d. Scan body for skin rashes
e. Scan airborne pathogens
f. Scan body, upload images to primary care physician

76. Will be used by all manner of security personal: TSA, bank guards, bouncers, & body guards

77. Dentists will use AR glasses during procedures

78. Museums tours will include AR glasses that give advanced audio/visual information and interaction with exhibits

79. In-store shopping will include AR glasses that allow users to try on outfits in different colors, types, and sizes

80. Will be used in Glass Dating services allowing users more direct connection and interactions

81. For use in driving to provide up-to-date traffic information and road risks (this might get sketchy)

82. Face recognition software (people are uncomfortable with this advent)

83. Recognizing friends in crowds via clothes recognition software

84. Calendar updates, meetings, reminders, alerts…many of the basic things that are now provided through mobile phones or tablets

85. Hands-free video

86. DIY techno-graffiti, wearers will download special codes to view secret messages written in graffiti

87. Underground groups will use AR glasses for clandestine contact and identification

88. Scavenger hunts will get a face-lift; using AR glasses to collect visual images instead of actual objects for collection

89. All manner of instructions on anything…query the web…project tutorials

90. Practice martial arts through the eyes of a master using AR glasses

91. Link glasses to satellite cameras in the sky; look through the satellite lenses to see space from a POV perspective while on Earth

92. Personal athletic trainers and fitness experts will wear AR glasses to help develop clients’ form and techniques

93. Theme park operators will sell AR glass rentals to customers for advanced park-goer experiences

94. Used by reporters in the field for visual documentation, create news reports, and publish on the move

95. Enhanced amateur night sky viewing and astronomy

96. Used by farmers to gather enhanced information about crops

97. Used by gardeners to gather enhanced information about flora and fauna.

98. Used by traders on stock or commodities exchanges for real-time information, vocal stock calls, direct interaction with managers

99. Reverse camera functions to enable meetings on the go

100. Sleep maintenance and bio-physiological augmentation

Moving picture boxes with information about Google Glasses

Verge Review: "I Used Google Glasses"

(Video source: The Verge.)

Google Glasses: One Day

(Video source: Google)

Tim Jordan  - Building New Experiences with Glass - SXSW 2013

(Video source: lifechannable)

Google I/O 2012  - Google Glasses Demonstration

(Video Source: Google Developers)

Sergey Brin - Google Glasses - TED Talks

(Video Source: Tedleaks)

Image Source: By Antonio Zugaldia ( [GFDL ( or CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Image Source: By EN:Glogger [GPL (], via Wikimedia Commons

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