Thursday, May 17, 2012

Justin Newsome (@NerdistNewsome) has shared a tweet with you

My back to the brick post want literal. Man, all these copiers today:-)
Paging Zack Morris: This retro 1980s case turns an iPhone into a 'brick' handset -- CNET (@CNET)

May 2012 | Gadget Lab |
This came out days after my last Google headset post. Looks just different enough from my description to avoid prior art patent issues.  Coincidence, I think not.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Google Glasses: ‘Spec’ulation 3-Back to the Brick

In this last post on the topic, I demonstrate how the evolution of cell phones will progress to a form that somewhat resembles their ancestry.  By having the screen in a headset or glasses you will no longer have a screen on your phone that could break.  There will be no need for buttons or ports.  Technology will have advanced so far in all areas there will be alternatives for all functions.  

You will see the numbers on your phone simply because the image is analyzed and the computer is able to figure out where the number should show up on the phone based on the phones accelerometer and an AR (augmented reality) tool called hieroglyphs.  It is difficult to interpret an object without any reference.  A hieroglyphic is an image that acts as the reference.  There are already some android apps that utilize hieroglyphs; namely AndAR Model Viewer.  The video demonstrates AndAR in action.  The point is that instead of projecting a chair or other object, a keypad would be displayed.  The 0-9 keypad, a-z keyboard, or other specialty buttons would no longer be constrained to the size limitations of the phone.  They would no longer pose a physical requirement on the phone.  This all assumes you still want that info linked to the location of the phone.  It may as well just be a designated area within your field of view. 

Example of Using Hieroglyphs

Bluetooth resolves several of the constraints.  There is no need for a port for the headset jack.  There are Bluetooth enabled headphones.  Video and audio can be transmitted and received similarly.  There is no need to run a cord from your phone to the glasses when it can all be transmitted wirelessly.  

A camera?  To take full advantage of your new, fully customizable, AR environment at least one camera would be built into the headset.  You don't like the user interface of reality, then program a different one.  The head mounted display would render a phone's camera redundant.  Do not worry.  Your eyes will not be strained by staring at a screen because eReader type displays will be used.  That technology still has to improve refresh rates and coloring to meet streaming video demands.  It is improving rapidly.  My guess is that in 2 years it will begin to meet these needs.   

Volume control would be virtual.

The power button would be virtual.

HDMI transmission is achieved with Bluetooth.

Charging can take place using inductive technology.  Simply place your phone on a mat.  No port is required.  PowerMat is likely the biggest name in this market currently.  I would have put their product instead of their logo, but really, while the technology is great, a phone sitting on a mat is just boring.  

A few options would exist for the Micro HD-SD slot.  It could be mounted into the headset.  That would be one more feature adding weight where you do not want it.  Alright, communicate to another auxiliary device.  Maybe you now say you do not want to carry around extra devices.  No, that auxiliary device could be in your clothes recording biometric info for you to later review.  But you did say you did not want an auxiliary device, period.  In that case, lose the SD card altogether.  Cloud computing is still a nascent industry and already has several companies vying for your support.  

I cannot say the same about the SIM card; the card some phone companies use to identify their customers.  Barring the companies switch to different methods, it would have to reside some place on your person.  However, it could still be integrated into the headset or auxiliary device.

What is left?  A brick.  Since many of the components have been removed, the battery and processors can stretch out with much more leg room.  It has become a slab of fully enclosed plastic and metal that is impervious to the elements.  Dropped your phone on the ground.  No worries, the slab phone can be dropped 10 times further without damage.  Ever dropped your phone in the toilet.  No worries, disgusting, but no worries.  Your new slab phone can be water tight depending on the options.  Want a warranty; you get it for $1 cause the carrier knows it would take acid or nuclear radiation to destroy that beast.  And if it did the warranty would not cover it.  Some things never change.  

All of these will be features available based on the phone model.  The only technology that is needed is the eReader screen to avoid eye strain which I said would likely be ready for market in 2 years.  That makes it perfect timing for Google to unveil their design as a prototype stage.  They will work on their product and it may find some people interested in wearing it for short term periods.  By the time all the bugs are worked out the only thing left to do will be to switch out the screens.  It is a classic example of how Moore's law is being used to bring products to market.  

As this is my last post on the topic, here is a video from a Mashable post that shows some progression in their work just within the past month.  A month ago, Sergey Brin,  a Google co-founder, discussed the project briefly with Robert Scoble (@scobleizer on Twitter)  Whether true or not, it was said or joked that the glasses at the time only continually rebooted.
Use Cases of a Head Mounted Display

UP NEXT: Introducing Me, Myself, and I - A Social Media Multiple Personality Disorder

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Google Glasses: ‘Spec’ulation 2: The Welcomed End of Privacy

The money the government has spent on facial recognition will be wasted as new augmented reality glasses will obscure everyone’s identity.  I found this link from last year that shows the government's interests in the technology.  Instead, a more intense battle will spring up over privacy.  The government will try to get the exact same data from tech companies.  This would be a cheaper prospective route to achieve the same goal if litigation can be minimized.  Each headset will be linked to a phone number, a user account, and thus it is linked to the person.  Before, money was given to companies to try to identify people by their faces.  Now, the government will try to solicit the information from Silicon Valley's finest and the telcos (telephone companies).  Is this a good thing?  Is it bad?

Currently, with Google location, you can turn on location history and track your travels.  It tells me I have traveled over 65,000,000 meters since I started the service.  The image below shows what I was doing 1 year ago.  By default, this option is disabled for users. 
 Google Latitude Location History

With Google glasses similar services will likely spring up.  Record your entire day to a cloud server to review at a later time.  Use HighlightCam to cut through all the boring footage.  Or just use it to live more effectively in the present.  Where was that new Thai restaurant that opened downtown?  Actually pay attention to your classes and take notes later.  Hell, have an app take notes for you to review later while listening to the recordings.  As mobile operating systems develop the ability to readily record and store this massive amount of data, the apps will update to utilize the features to bring users more functionality, to gain greater market share, to find new ways of targeting ads and selling products.

Another gray area of the ethics of many companies today is how they use your data and how long they store it.  It ranges from a few months to a few years.  All of this is to provide advertisers information.  We, you, accept this in order to get free products; phones, apps, added functionality of apps.  Saving and storing, lets say 24 hours of your life would all be part of the same package.  First reactions are typically along the lines of ‘that’s evil’, ‘it’s creepy’.  But then you get attacked.  Chances are the attacker will get caught on the camera you are wearing.  Just as police can currently call up the local telco and request the recording of phone conversations with a pass code, they will similarly be able to view the last 24 hours of your life and location history to find those clues.  Parents will similarly likely track their children to ensure they use the technology responsibly.  They will of course want to because the headlines of video sexting (vixting?) will be all over the news.  The invasion of your privacy, or the sharing of your demographic information, depending on how you look at it, is not a new issue here.  That has been the case for years.  What is new is what you get for it!  

Because the government and companies benefit greatly by getting this information they will help pay for the glasses to help you buy them.  There have already been discussions that the internet may join the ranks of indispensable human rights.  The U.N. has already declared that it is a basic right in 2011 as countries continually tried to limit the content available to their denizens.  Depending on the direction those debates take, the government could then be justified in passing legislation that would ensure no citizen is denied this right.  It would be great political theater as one side touts the endless value added to citizens' lives and the other crucifies such policies as a new level of government intervention and invasion of privacy.  No, it would not only be the government.  Companies will also be peddling their goods with all the latest features.  Want the latest model, $200 with contract.  Wait a few months and get it free with contract.  It is free, right?

It is easy to veil the entire topic in a glow of George Orwell's 1984. But then again it is only an extension of the same practices that have been around for decades.  Or perhaps I have already been brainwashed into loving Big Brother, not by having my head forced in a cage with a hungry rat, but rather by accepting numerous terms of service and clicking several EULAs (End User License Agreements) to receive a patchwork of tools that eventually I will not be able to get through a day without.  Instead of a fear of rats, society will be incensed with a new spreading fear; nomophobia, a fear of being disconnected.  Sorry if I ruined the ending for you.

Google Glasses: ‘Spec’ulation 3-Back to the Brick: A Sales Pitch for the Coming Years