Although still in its infancy even after all this time, I’m a big fan of the work of Steve Mann and various other “wearable computer,” pioneers.
There’s a lot of potential for wearable computers to enhance and make reality more accessible. They can provide instant on-demand access to information. They can help us perform computations on the go (if everyone was walking around donating some spare cycles to counting prime numbers, many fields of research would benefit greatly). My favorite idea has always been the enhancement of reality: providing an information layer between what I see and what I know. The possibilities are still being explored.
Recently, researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a pair of cyber goggles that can memorize and index objects they see. They attach the name of the object to a visual display (‘enhancing reality’) and index the video footage. This allows the user to search the device’s database for objects and retrieve the video of when they saw the object — no more lost keys!
I really can’t wait to see this technology flourish. On top of simply attaching the name of the object, I think it would be useful to be able to tag the object with keywords and attach notes to them. Imagine seeing a person you know and all the meta-information you’ve attached to that person float around them. Maybe you could colour-code people and see who you know, the familiar strangers in the room (people you see regularly but are not personally acquainted with), and people you have never met but might know through an acquaintance. It’s exciting to think of all the ways a simple interface can change the way we think about the space around us.