Focus on what’s right in front of you

Google Glass
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been watching the tech world go back and forth about Google’s latest creation, Google Glass. It’s been announced for a while, but the product has actually been shipped out to the lottery winners who wanted to pay 1500 bucks to test it out. If you’re not familiar with the product, it’s essentially a computer that you wear on your face like a pair of glasses. It projects a heads up display in the corner of your vision that enables you to see the weather, get directions, take video or pictures, you get the idea.

Once you look past the privacy issues and the dork factor of the design itself, as shown here, the possibilities of potential uses seems pretty interesting. I can imagine recipes being displayed while cooking, or breaking news headlines showing up as the stories happen. It’s making information even easier to access than our smartphones do. This can be good, as well as unnerving.

I’ve been thinking about all of the people now who bury themselves in their pocket computers as if there is nothing else that can possibly be more interesting going on around them (myself included). There are a bunch of reasons we do this that range from being neurotic about the possibility that you might miss replying to an @reply on your twitter feed within 5 seconds, or just using it as a distraction to avoid feeling uncomfortable in a crowded elevator. I think the biggest drawback to this phenomenon is our growing avoidance of human to human interaction, and heaven forbid making eye contact with the person in front of you. Can you imagine how this would grow exponentially if everyone had a computer feeding them information in the corner of their vision 100% of the time? Saturday Night Live commented on this pretty hilariously last weekend, but there is a lot of truth to the comedy.

Anyway, I understand that this is technology and cranky commentators (I don’t include myself in this bunch – usually I’m drooling over the shiny objects like everyone else) will whine every time a new gadget comes out – think tv. But I am a bit concerned about the reliance we have on these devices to feel connected to others. In some ways I imagine that in order to experience true empathy, people need people. With that said, I leave you with this incredible video that I ran across while researching this post. A lot of cars in Russia are now equipped with dash cams, think police cars over here in the states, and someone compiled this video of people just being awesome.

Anyway, let me know what you think.

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Nathan Spainhour Nathan Spainhour is a Designer + Interactive Director at Brains on Fire. Meet him here.

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