Google Glass is really a very interesting step into wearable computing. It’s a logical evolution that more natural and convenient interaction will become more successful. Sadly Google Glass misses out in a few key areas that I think really promise the biggest rewards.

Google Glass provides both tactile and voice input. It provides a roughly 640×360 single eye display and a 5 mega-pixel camera. There is also a really cool voice api and timeline / card metaphor for building apps and consuming content.

Google Glass really does a lot with what is possible with today’s technology. However I feel like it is a misstep that the usage model is as a tool for your daily life rather than a specific productivity tool. This steps into a few social minefields. For example a user can look like they are paying attention to you, but instead be checking their news feed, or where a user captures images or video in inappropriate situations.

I feel like the key usage scenarios where fully augmented glasses can really shine involve a much more intensive usage model. Where you put on your glasses to do work or virtual collaboration. These glasses would replace big screens and your whole input stack. They would provide stereo images, eye tracking, gyros, front facing cameras for augmentation and front sensors for 3D hand and finger tracking. Full head tracking is critical because paralax effects are probably more important than stereo for good depth perception.

The idea is to immerse yourself in a fully integrated 3d space where your visual system, voice input and hand gestures are all integrated. This setup will provide a massive productivity boost while working and communicating.

The ability to integrate finger tracking with synthetic 3d imagery opens up the possibilities of amazing user interfaces – combined with eye tracking and voice recognition you get a massive boost in the ability for the system to provide prompts and respond appropriately to voice commands.

There is no doubt that the ability to augment our senses in this kind of way is absolutely the most natural and compact way to interact – but just like societies have had to work out social norms for smartphones use, one of our challenges will be working out how wearable computing devices fit in.

Note : August 2013 : a link to a company combining Epson Moverio glasses and softkinetic time of flight 3D cameras (Quite a heavy amount of hardware!)

Note : August 2014 : Leap motion have launched a mount for your ‘Oculus Rift’!

Note : June 2015 : Headmounted Augmented Reality is a reality!