I am a big fan of William Gibson: I like his books*, and the Cyberpunk World he created, where humans can be “upgraded” and can get better through technology.
I have always been attracted by new technologies, and ways to improve our every-day life. As a fan of science-fiction, and with a Biology background, I guess it’s normal for me to consider new technologies when thinking about the evolution of humans.
But until a few months ago, this was only science-fiction. Yes, I’d be one of the first to volunteer to get an implant behind my ear, or “implanted” glasses connected to Internet and to my brain. But the closest thing from this was Augmented reality. And I must say I wasn’t really convinced. I tried a few apps when AR started appearing in our smartphones, but nothing blew my mind like Google Glass and Myo.
I guess you’ve all seen the Google Glass Intro video by now, but here it is again:
What was your first reaction? I’ll be honest, I didn’t believe it. I thought that this was yet another prototype video: it looks cool, but it won’t be available any time soon. This was probably recorded with GoPros.
I was wrong. If you’re lucky and live in the US, you can actually apply to be one of the first to get one pair!
So it does work. And Joshua Topolsky proved it by trying the glasses for a day, last week:
The video is not fake, the glasses work, they look good: I want them. On 1 condition though: it has to understand my French accent.
The video is not fake, the glasses work, they look good: I want them. On 1 condition though: it has to understand my French accent. And speaking from experience, Google isn’t good at that yet (or I’m not good at speaking with a proper accent, up to you).
But that’s where the main problem is, isn’t it? As long as we will have to say things out loud, it won’t be a huge success. Do you use Siri to dictate SMS while riding the subway? Don’t you think that saying “Ok Glass, record a video” will break all spontaneity if you want to record your friends during a Karaoke party?
That’s where William Gibson was right; these devices should be connected directly to our brains, and pull data as we think about it. We’re not there yet, but some companies are thinking about it… Need an example? Meet MYO.
Unleash your inner Jedi
The device is not connected to your brain, but will react to every movement of your arm. It’s affordable, and can be extended through an API. You can use it to interact with your computer, or with other connected devices. Who knows, in a little while you might be able to interact with use Google Glass and Myo together!
I haven’t tried any other connected devices like Myo or Google Glass, but I was impressed by two product demos at LeWeb in December: Nest and Lockitron. While both products still have obvious flaws (Lockitron won’t work on my standard european locks, for example), I’d like to have more products like these around me, with me, making my life easier every day.
If you haven’t read it yet, go read Neuromancer. I’m always looking for friends willing to get a neural implant when I’ll get mine! :)