How Augmented Reality Will Usurp the Smartphone
On May 1, 2012 I wrote a post about how Google Goggles would be the next big thing after smartphones and on November 22, 2012, Business Insider wrote in The End of The Smartphone Era is Coming about how Google Glass will be the new, default way people communicate, usurping the current cellphone. Nicholas Carlson writes, “Something like Google Glass or whatever Microsoft is working on could end up replacing the smartphone as the dominant way people access the Internet and connect to each other.”
While Google Glass uses a tiny screen displayed on the inside of glasses, Microsoft is working on augmented reality, where data and illustrations overlay the actual world around you. And while these still new technologies are being built around wearable glasses, they will enevitably get smaller and be embedded in contact lenses. The US military is already developing augmented reality contact lenses as seen in Mission Impossible 4, Ghost Protocol.
I’ve always thought that anything we see in the movies is just a pre-cursor for real life (but we’re all still waiting on flying cars and cold fusion). The one I think about the most is the smartphone used in The Saint. It was a bar phone that flipped open like a mini-laptop that had Internet access. The movie came out in 1997 when the Internet still meant dial-up for most people and cell phones had yet to become ubiquitous. It took ten years, but by 2007 I had a better phone than Val Kilmer, but then Tom Cruise had to go and up me with his augmented reality contact lenses. I guess I’ll have to wait for Microsoft or Google to catch me up in another 10 years.
UPDATE 12/17/2012: Scientists in Belgium have taken a crucial step toward building screens into contact lenses, “Jelle De Smet and a team of researchers at Ghent University built an LCD screen in a curved contact lens.”