Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Google Displays Technology

Adjusting to Google Glass May Be Hard 154

New submitter fluxgate writes "Steve Mann (whom you might know for his having pioneered wearable computing as a grad student at MIT back in the 1990s) writes in IEEE Spectrum magazine about his decades of experience with computerized eyeware. His article warns that Google Glass hasn't been properly engineered to avoid creating disorientating effects and significant eyestrain. While it's hard to imagine that Google has missed something fundamental here, Mann convincingly describes why Google Glass users might experience serious problems. Quoting: 'The very first wearable computer system I put together showed me real-time video on a helmet-mounted display. The camera was situated close to one eye, but it didn’t have quite the same viewpoint. The slight misalignment seemed unimportant at the time, but it produced some strange and unpleasant results. And those troubling effects persisted long after I took the gear off. That’s because my brain had adjusted to an unnatural view, so it took a while to readjust to normal vision. ... Google Glass and several similarly configured systems now in development suffer from another problem I learned about 30 years ago that arises from the basic asymmetry of their designs, in which the wearer views the display through only one eye. These systems all contain lenses that make the display appear to hover in space, farther away than it really is. That’s because the human eye can’t focus on something that’s only a couple of centimeters away, so an optical correction is needed. But what Google and other companies are doing—using fixed-focus lenses to make the display appear farther away—is not good.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Adjusting to Google Glass May Be Hard

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2013 @07:51PM (#43050741)

    From CNN:

    #ifihadglass ... might be the end of privacy as we knew it. Does anyone doubt this will be used as yet another way for Google to harvest our data?

  • by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Friday March 01, 2013 @08:05PM (#43050855)
    You only need to RTFA, it is of course mentioned. There's even something more: the effect and time to get back to normal is inverse to the magnitude of the change: for an upside down change, the adaptation is longer but the revert to normal is almost immediate.

    Research dating back more than a century helps explain this. In the 1890s, the renowned psychologist George Stratton constructed special glasses that caused him to see the world upside down. The remarkable thing was that after a few days, Stratton’s brain adapted to his topsy-turvy worldview, and he no longer saw the world upside down. You might guess that when he took the inverting glasses off, he would start seeing things upside down again. He didn’t. But his vision had what he called, with Victorian charm, “a bewildering air.”

    Through experimentation, I’ve found that the required readjustment period is, strangely, shorter when my brain has adapted to a dramatic distortion, say, reversing things from left to right or turning them upside down. When the distortion is subtle—a slightly offset viewpoint, for example—it takes less time to adapt but longer to recover.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2013 @08:08PM (#43050867)

    You know? What stops you building your own... or contributing to a kickstarter.

    Nothing, but that's not the problem I was talking about. There will be millions of stupid people who buy the Google version, and *my* privacy will be destroyed because of *their* decision to Follow The Marketing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2013 @08:27PM (#43050983)

    Yes, but in general, that doesn't happen. Everyone walking around with a smartphone isn't holding it up and video recording at all times. When they do, it's usually to capture something of particular interest.

    Google glass will have people walking around recording at all times, and knowing Google, that video will never go away. They'll find ways to index it and use facial recognition to tie it to real life identities in ways that random Joe-Schmoe recording with his cell phone doesn't do.

    It's about scale. My neighbor knowing something personal about me isn't the same as Google knowing the very same thing. Similar here.

  • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 01, 2013 @08:47PM (#43051113)

    In what testing? The testing conducted exclusively by Google, and a hand-picked bunch of people who lined up eagerly to suck their cock and pay $1500 for the privilege of an Alpha-quality device?

    Yeah, I'm sure those people are likely to have: 1) Used it out and around long enough to have actually identified problems with it; 2) the balls to tell the emperor he has no clothes.

    They lined up to PAY GOOGLE for the privilege of being testers.

    That's pretty much a guarantee you're going to get your dick sucked in any review.

  • by balsy2001 ( 941953 ) on Friday March 01, 2013 @08:56PM (#43051177)
    The Target Acquisition and Designation Sights, Pilot Night Vision System (,_Pilot_Night_Vision_System) for the AH-64 uses a single eye piece. So it seems like this type of thing can and has been done (and this one is pretty cool, it tracks the head movements of the pilot and points the 50 caliber cannon where he/she looks). The single eye piece doesn't seem to cause problems for the pilots that use these systems. Not saying I am interested in Google Glass, but they should have been able to figure out the problem discussed in the TFA.
  • no, I don't doubt it. Maybe you should explain what gathering public data and making it available is a bad thing?

    The singkle best defence the people in the US have against abuse from police is cameras.
    The only people who shoud be conerned are 'UFO' watchers, and conspiracy theorist. Becasue the expansion of cameras is killing that nonsense.

    Imagine looking at a constable and being able to bring up everything the public record has on him, almost instantly.
    Imagine walking into a crowded room, "tagging" the best looking person there, and then doing an in-depth query on their back story. The next time you see them, appropriate info is fed to you to be able to act like you're someone they should know and like.

    Both things have positive points, but can be used for great evil as well as great good.

    Now imagine if Google mounted a laser on the glasses....

  • Re:So... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 02, 2013 @12:18AM (#43052145)

    I don't know, some of us are very sensitive to these sorts of things, while others not so much.

    People still think I'm making stuff up when I say "shakey cam movies make me vomit", or Portal 2 for that matter. Most people have absolutely no problems, a few feel mildly queasy. But some of us get physically ill. Shakey cam movies continue, and don't announce themselves as such until AFTER they've taken your money, and some video game companies still restrict FOV options or don't provide ways of disabling "head bob", and other disorienting effects. They simply don't believe there's a problem, and their testers aren't picking up (perhaps being desensitized to it from long hours anyway).

    I don't think they missed anything "fundamental", but it would not surprise me at all if they missed something significant but outside their test group.

    My sympathies for your condition (and I mean that), but you now KNOW about this flaw, so they'll be no "taking" of your money as if you didn't have a clue. That being said, If you still hand it to them, I doubt my sympathy will remain intact. You of all people should know by now that companies do not make products that cater to 100% of humans. This unfortunately, is likely going to be one of them. But you probably knew that simply by looking at it from day one, knowing your particular quirks.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall