When Google Glass was unveiled to the world, it promised a future where digital and reality would meld seamlessly. However, the project stumbled, primarily due to the delicate equilibrium between augmented reality (AR) and the world as we know it. What went wrong, and how can technology take a different route?
Google Glass’s primary hiccup was rooted in the very nature of human cognition. Our brains are marvelously complex and adaptable, yet they have evolved over millennia to process the world in specific ways. Introducing AR, especially in the omnipresent manner Google Glass did, is akin to forcing our brains to multitask on a grand scale. The constant tug between what’s real and what’s digitally superimposed turns AR into more of a distraction than an enhancement.
Now, while AR has its limitations, the future doesn’t seem bleak. Enter Custom Reality (CR). Instead of an overlaid digital reality, CR alters specific elements of the actual world tailored to individual needs. The billboard example, where a driver gets personal navigation instructions on a billboard, is just the tip of the iceberg.
For technology to be truly beneficial, it must enhance our experiences without adding undue cognitive strain. Google Glass might have been ahead of its time and perhaps misdirected in its approach. Still, as we look forward to the potential of Custom Reality, the fusion of digital possibilities with our tangible world has never been more exciting. The key lies in harmoniously integrating these technologies into our daily lives without jarring our innate human processing capabilities. Apple is on the right path with their vision pro, but there is still long way to go, before CR becomes part of one’s daily life.
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