As we've seen with smartphones, the most ingenious applications of augmented reality (AR) glasses are likely to come from third-party sources. We’ve already seen startups like LevelUp experiment with ways to turn Google Glass into a point-of-sale system. Others have mused about possibilities for use in medical practice.
This week, we saw how it could be used to remotely operate TVs, appliances, and AC units… simply by looking at them.
A team of students at UC Berkeley’s CITRIS lab developed a system, called GlasSees, that pairs Google Glass with individual home appliances, allowing users to, for example, pause a movie or turn off a dishwasher. Presumably, we will all get fatter because of it.
The students outfitted Glass with an IR (infrared) emitter, which sends a unique frequency to devices fixed with an IR receiver and microcontroller. A user interface appears on Glass when it detects a compatible device, and even distinguishes between multiple appliances for independent control. When a connection is made, an LED light on the appliance turns green.
Given the resources and IT know-how necessary to set up such a system, it may not have immediate practical use. But as a demonstration of the technology’s potential, it’s pretty amazing. One can easily imagine uses beyond the home: Perhaps you'll be able to operate your car stereo without taking your hands off the wheel, or make payments at a ticket kiosk without contaminating your fingers with strangers' germs.
Glass itself might not have the door-busting demand of a new iPhone when it’s made publicly available next year. But mark our words, over time you’ll see competitors and, more importantly, third-party developers coming forth with products like GlasSees that will make AR glasses as popular as tablets.
[Hero image: Creative Commons, "Tedeytan"]