A few years ago I became infatuated with a remarkable piece of anime called Denno Coil. I won’t be spending time here explaining all the intricate details of the plot and characters, mostly because that’s what the Denno Coil Wikipedia page is for, but I do want to bring to light one soon-to-be-real aspect of the show.
That’s right, thanks to the tireless innovation machine that is Google, there may well soon be real AR glasses you can wear around town. Now, while I’m positive that the first iteration of Google’s AR glasses will not be the sleek, modern and nearly invisible units shown in Denno Coil, what I am positive of is that if they don’t screw it up completely this will be the next big technological wave every other tech company will be trying to catch up with in the not-too-distant future. When I first saw Denno Coil, I must have driven my wife crazy as I literally shouted, “Why hasn’t someone invented this yet?!” every five minutes. And it wasn’t just the AR glasses I was so amazed by. It was the entire, interactive, virtual reality world where the children were playing that was overlaid upon the “real” world. It was the interactive maps, virtual assistants, virtual pets and all the other things the glasses made possible.
And yes, you could also make phone calls using them, too.
I don’t know if Google’s AR glasses will be the “right” implementation of the AR glasses concept, because I for one don’t think hand gestures alone are the best way to interact with the AR. I’d think a combination of hand gestures, voice commands and tracking eye movement would be best. However, the fact that Google has so much information at their disposal that they could connect you to, so much data they could put in front of you for your AR pleasure, it makes me hopeful that one day we will actually reach the level of total interactivity with the virtual world that Denn? Coil will seem less like fantastic science fiction and more like plain, old science.
And on that day Neal Stephenson will smile and say, “Told you so.”