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Adjusting to Google Glass May Be Hard

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the unless-walking-into-things-is-your-preference dept.

Google 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.'"

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What's his view on .. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43050707)

So, what's his view on POV porn on these devices?

Come on! You know you're getting these just for that!

The other uses are just rationalizations!

Re:What's his view on .. (2)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43050807)

So, what's his view on POV porn on these devices?

I'd say... augmented? You now, with an overlay of arrows and directions and labels and what not [ieee.org] , how else?

Re:What's his view on .. (1)

game kid (805301) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051121)

Take a body- or at least groin-oriented version of that EMS force feedback [slashdot.org] thing, combine it with the glasses and 3d- or anime-model augments, and you too can have your very own cyber-succubus only fully visible to you! (Guaranteed both to tire you out and raise the eyebrows of the typical witness, not privy to the visuals.)

Capcom would make truckloads from one made with Morrigan [wikipedia.org] .

They will cause head injuries (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43050725)

A mugger attractant that's more visible than white Apple earphones.

Re:They will cause head injuries (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051099)

But Apple has innovated and produced their own version of Google Glass [imgur.com] .

I understand they have patented the technology and will be suing anyone who has rounded corners on their spectacles.

why glass should respect privacy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43050741)

From CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/25/tech/innovation/google-glass-privacy-andrew-keen

#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?

Re:why glass should respect privacy (2)

misanthropic.mofo (1891554) | about a year and a half ago | (#43050797)

Does anyone doubt this will be used as yet another way for Google to harvest our data?

Of course that's what the real idea behind the Google glasses is. To catalog everything you look at and append it to what is doubtless a huge database of your search histories, preferences, emails, etc. For anyone that has ever logged into a Google service or had some cookies on their machines. Their revenue is based on selling, so the more they can catalog on any and everyone, the happier they will be. All the way to the bank with all that money those marketing firms over there just gave them.

Re:why glass should respect privacy (2)

SirSlud (67381) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051887)

Did you just say, "had some cookies on their machine"?

Re:why glass should respect privacy (0)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43050819)

From CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/25/tech/innovation/google-glass-privacy-andrew-keen

#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?

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

Re:why glass should respect privacy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:why glass should respect privacy (0)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43050921)

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

Not trying to troll, but... maybe I'm slow today... please detail on how exactly is you privacy destroyed more than it is now? I mean, letting aside CCTV, even now you can be recorded in public by anyone who owns a smartphone.

Re:why glass should respect privacy (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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:why glass should respect privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43050999)

can != is

Re:why glass should respect privacy (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051115)

U sure?

Remember: they are after you anyway, no matter if you are paranoid or not.

(grin)

Re:why glass should respect privacy (5, Informative)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051047)

But people usually don't run around holding their smartphone in recording position because it would be hard and look siilly. Google Glass is always in recording position by default, thus removing an important barrier to have it constantly recording. And there will surely be an incentive to have the camera always on (so that virtual objects can be put in the right place, or you can get extra information on what you currently see.

Imagine a simple application which uses face recognition and image search to find out the name of the person you are currently looking at, and displaying it close to that person. An immensely useful application if you tend to forget people's names, or have problems recognizing people. However it means that (a) the wearer will immediately know the names of all people they see (as long as they are stored in the system), thus reducing your privacy relative to the wearer, and (b) Google will know the position of any person the wearer sees and the system can identify, even if that person has never used anything associated Google in their lifetime, thus reducing your privacy against Google. And if you ask how that image gets into the Google system: For example, some friend of him has stored a photo on Picasa.

Re:why glass should respect privacy (2)

Solandri (704621) | about a year and a half ago | (#43052205)

Personally I think this is going to be like loud motorcycles, spam, and nuclear weapons. You and I may not want it, but if someone else wants it there's little stopping them from getting it. These things are getting miniaturized to the point where even if you passed laws banning it, people who really wanted it could have it without you ever knowing.

Fight to prevent it from coming into being if you like. But as with a nuclear North Korea and Iran, you'd better have a contingency plan for what to do when (not if) it becomes commonplace.

Re:why glass should respect privacy (2)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051097)

There is no solution to this problem, which already exists and will get worse, with or without Google Glass. Your best bet is to walk around with a ski mask, and even that will only stop some forms of privacy invasion.

Re:why glass should respect privacy (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051253)

It's too warm where I live to wear a ski mask - I am stocking up on Groucho Glasses!

Re:why glass should respect privacy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051221)

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.

You think you have a right to privacy in a public place, but somehow THEY are the stupid ones?

Re:why glass should respect privacy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051699)

No I don't have expectation of privacy but I do largely have an expectancy of anonymity; I'm not someone so famous that TMZ will be following me 24/7. It is not that far fetched to think of an Orwellian world where we are identified and tracked everywhere, not by a Governmental Bigbrother but our Corporate Masters such as Google.

Re:why glass should respect privacy (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051715)

No I don't have expectation of privacy but I do largely have an expectancy of anonymity; I'm not someone so famous that TMZ will be following me 24/7. It is not that far fetched to think of an Orwellian world where we are identified and tracked everywhere, not by a Governmental Bigbrother but our Corporate Masters such as Google.

You're not that important. Nobody cares.

You will be anonymized.

Re:why glass should respect privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051753)

Then this product has no value to Google. The value proposition for Google, given rest of their business model, is to tag, identify, catalog and build models which they can sell.

Re:why glass should respect privacy (1)

EuclideanSilence (1968630) | about a year and a half ago | (#43052073)

People who are unimportant being compromised by a lack of privacy, those are not the ones I worry about.

Re:why glass should respect privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051943)

But you do in a public restroom, and this will destroy that as well.

Re:why glass should respect privacy (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43050965)

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.

Re:why glass should respect privacy (4, Insightful)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051181)

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:why glass should respect privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051559)

Maybe you should explain what gathering public data and making it available is a bad thing?

Anyone can use the information against you, including the government. Now, currently, the government can't easily spy on everyone's activities in public most of the time, and that's a good thing. If you say otherwise, you're both naive and insane.

Re:why glass should respect privacy (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | about a year and a half ago | (#43052285)

Is this like the disorientation I used to feel when I wore my grandparents' glasses as a kid?

Wayne's World Flashback! (2)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year and a half ago | (#43050759)

Reminds me of when I was a kid and I heard about this guy who, as an experiment, wore a pair of glasses that inverted what he saw. After a while (weeks, I think), his brain adjusted by flipping the image upright. When he stopped wearing the glasses, it took some time for his vision to return to normal.

[citation needed]

Re:Wayne's World Flashback! (5, Informative)

jesushaces (777528) | about a year and a half ago | (#43050853)

It's in TFA (sorry, I'm new. won't do it again)

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.”

Also, for more info on Stratton's experiment check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_M._Stratton#Wundt.27s_lab_and_the_inverted-glasses_experiments [wikipedia.org]

Re:Wayne's World Flashback! (5, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Wayne's World Flashback! (1)

Longjmp (632577) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051041)

You only need to RTFA, it is of course mentioned.

You must be new here (see post above ;)

[...] When the distortion is subtle -- a slightly offset viewpoint, for example -- it takes less time to adapt but longer to recover.

So, I have no proof whatsoever, not even a glance of a hint, but this always seemed logical to me:
If you provide the brain with some slightly different view (compared to its normal one), it adapts more easily.
But also, since the view is only a bit distorted (from a brain's point of "view") it seems logical to me that it will accept this (more easily) as the "normal" view, and thus giving it more trouble to re-learn the original views.

Makes sense?

Re:Wayne's World Flashback! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051717)

You only need to RTFA, it is of course mentioned.

You must be new here (see post above ;)

[...] When the distortion is subtle -- a slightly offset viewpoint, for example -- it takes less time to adapt but longer to recover.

So, I have no proof whatsoever, not even a glance of a hint, but this always seemed logical to me:

If you provide the brain with some slightly different view (compared to its normal one), it adapts more easily.

But also, since the view is only a bit distorted (from a brain's point of "view") it seems logical to me that it will accept this (more easily) as the "normal" view, and thus giving it more trouble to re-learn the original views.

Makes sense?

Makes a lot of sense. Doesn't hold up in practice though.

Find someone who fits people for multi-focal lens glasses (aka "progressive") and talk to them. It takes weeks for the brain to adjust to the mildly distorted view they provide but when you take them off the brain readjusts almost instantly.

Re:Wayne's World Flashback! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051035)

I was told that in school, too.

It'll fail (0, Flamebait)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year and a half ago | (#43050761)

He's probably right but the fact you look like a penis and people will assume you're recording them and get pissed is reason enough it'll fail even if google wants to rip on their own mobile OS and call it emasculating.

Re:It'll fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051175)

I see people walking around with looxie cameras behind their ears on a daily basis. I have never even heard of someone becoming upset even though the only function of that is to record. Try again.

Re:It'll fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051961)

Where do you work? The Borg mothership? Maybe I've never noticed, but I've never seen anyone with one of those, and I live in a fairly large city.

Sergey was born a poor Black Child (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43050769)

Don't mod if you don't get the reference. Suggest Funny if you do.

Opti-Grab (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43050787)

They should attach a little handle to the nose bridge so people can easily adjust the fixed focus lenses.

Re:Opti-Grab (3, Funny)

yams69 (986130) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051091)

I'm worried that they're selling a product they didn't even test on prisoners!

Re:Opti-Grab (1)

Oyjord (810904) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051281)

+1 for "The Jerk" reference.

Re:Opti-Grab (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051941)

One dollar and NINE CENTS!

It doesn't matter (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43050809)

People will still flock to it. Then, others will capitalise on treating the ailments caused by the optional eye-wear.

Re:It doesn't matter (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43050905)

No, people won't flock to it. Google Glass will NEVER catch on. It's a fucking abortion.

Re:It doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051617)

The only killer app that I see is the real time removal of attractive [gender]'s clothes. The App Store would ban it, but if you jailbreak...

Seriously, with enough graphics power and real life style rendering done in real time... And of course the fewer clothes they are wearing now would help reduce CPU time. Or if the bot can find their nude photos on-line and use facial recognition to assist and be more realistic...

But yeah, the ad is neat, but it has some big hurdles and issues to fix. First of all that they needed to make them look like normal glasses.

The jerk +science xperiment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43050811)

Reminds me of an expiremt where we wore glasses upside down for 4days, then took them off and normal vision was flipped.

So make a better one (1)

Jenerick (717200) | about a year and a half ago | (#43050817)

"But what Google and other companies are doing—using fixed-focus lenses to make the display appear farther away—is not good."

Clearly people have put a lot of time and money into this, what's stopping them from compensating for this in some way?

Google Glass will be a bigger flop than (2)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year and a half ago | (#43050825)

the Nintendo Virtualboy.

You heard it here first.

Re:Google Glass will be a bigger flop than (2)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051017)

the Nintendo Virtualboy.

You heard it here first.

The laughable utility, stupid name, and quick demise of a touchscreen tablet device from Apple was also predicted here.

Re:Google Glass will be a bigger flop than (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43052101)

No, I've heard it elsewhere first. It was stupid then, too.

Planning on walking around (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43050835)

with You Could Be Mine blasting on my headphones and saying "Jarvis bring up Scarlett Johansson naked....enhance"

So... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43050927)

So... Steve Mann - a guy who's known for having pioneered the idea of "wearable computing," and had researched extensively in this field, says "They missed some things and it's going to cause some problems."

J. Random Fuckstick (submitter) responds with, "It's hard to imagine that Google has missed something fundamental here."

Do we really need to suck google's dick THAT badly, that we can't possibly criticize their products by pointing out the design flaws that will cause problems?

Jesus christ.

Re:So... (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051023)

Well, it would have shown up i the testing; which they have done a lot of.
Maybe it's better to say:
I find it hard to believe a company that has tested this device wouldn't have had this problem reported to them?
Not that any company is perfect, nor that spending more means it won't be flawed, but It's not a small problem to have detected.

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051565)

such colorful language... Is that you Linus ;-)

Re:So... (5, Informative)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051195)

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.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051597)

modded this thread, so having to post as AC and out of mod points.

But this post should be modded up. I cannot play 3D games, the physics is completely wrong for me. 5-10 minutes, and I get serious headache and nausea.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051295)

I think everyone would have more confidence if they, you know, brought in the pioneer in augmented reality to help develop the first large scale consumer augmented reality device.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051345)

Having used one, this guy's just flat-out wrong. More than likely he's trying to push his own solutions and wants to tear down the competition.

Re:So... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051955)

It doesn't matter. We have TWO articles on Slashdot in the last couple hours about people re-engineering the wheel and ignoring everything that came before. All these hotshot idiots with their attempts to get into orbit "their own way" are no different than Google Glass doing it "their own way" and ignoring all prior art, prior study, and prior expertise.

I've met Steve Mann. He's misunderstood, horribly geeky and incredibly brilliant. I was shocked that Google hadn't consulted with him first before they decided to chunk together their own wearable HUD. Mann has been doing this for longer than Google has existed. He is a walking laboratory and he knows, from experience, what the fuck he is talking about.

I'm sure Von Braun is laughing from his grave at these space jockeys, saying "You did WHAT?" Similarly Mann is shaking his head at Google.

Re:So... (1)

WoodGuard (773426) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051979)

It will be the next segway.!

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43052103)

So... Steve Mann - a guy who's known for having pioneered the idea of "wearable computing," and had researched extensively in this field, says "They missed some things and it's going to cause some problems."

J. Random Fuckstick (submitter) responds with, "It's hard to imagine that Google has missed something fundamental here."

Do we really need to suck google's dick THAT badly, that we can't possibly criticize their products by pointing out the design flaws that will cause problems?

Jesus christ.

Merely posing a statement in favor of Google's (rather fucking well-established) design team is now suddenly sucking Google's dick?

Jesus Christ, I'd hate to think what sexual innuendo's you'd pin on him if he downright called Mann a fucking liar...

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43052197)

Guys, guys, please use the correct term: Jesus G. Christ. Otherwise, you'll have to hand in your google fanboi card at the entrance.

Hard to imagine missing something fundamental? (0, Troll)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year and a half ago | (#43050953)

Hard to imagine Google missing something fundamental? No it's not. Sure, Google's business is powered by search, but consider the age of the papers they'd have had to read to know about Steve Mann's work. 30 years? The engineers fooling with Google Glass are younger than the papers in question. :P Which means they suffer from that peculiar brand of cognitive myopia that afflicts their whole generation: if it's not digital, it doesn't exist.

Those papers are no doubt available solely in dead tree form. Or possibly they're available through Excelsior in a crappy scanned form for outrageous fees, which again, these young engineers aren't going to even consider. Who pays for digital information like that? Nobody. (If you're a Google engineer, that's what you think.)

In any case, it wouldn't be the first time a wheel was reinvented badly when it came to electronic gadgets. Between engineering arrogance (nobody could possibly have thought of this brilliant idea before I did) and corporate policy (by all that's holy, do NOT do a patent search on the subject), it happens frequently. Nor is that likely to stop any time soon. Google's stated goal of cataloging all the world's information is a long way from being achieved, especially when there are plenty of forces trying to prevent the digitization of that information.

Re:Hard to imagine missing something fundamental? (5, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051077)

That's a pretty bid assertion. How does it feel to be old enough where you need to keep up excuses about young people so you don't have to think about your age?

Going into wearable computing, especially glass, and not knowing of Steve Mann would be like looking into fast food burgers and not stumbling upon McDonalds*

it all old dead tree stuff? really?

http://eyetap.org/publications/index.html [eyetap.org]

As if the guy who has been wearing computer glasses, he built, wouldn't use digital storage.

Re:Hard to imagine missing something fundamental? (2)

rahvin112 (446269) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051467)

The OP is simply stating what many of us have experienced, a young work force can innovate better, because they aren't handicapped by experience, but the younger workforces lack of experience handicaps their wisdom and knowledge.

I have no doubt Google will come up with an amazing and neat product, I also have no doubt that they will overlook some problems that will be very serious for some people in the wider world. The experience to know that and to reach out to experts in the field comes with wisdom and age. The guy with 30 years experience in the stuff has already pointed out some that Google could be very aware of but have no intention of fixing (because they have a young workforce that can handle the adjustment) and might find out later that some 60 year old lady fell down the stairs because she wore Google glass for a week and it totally fucked up her depth perception.

We shouldn't treat Google like a god, understanding the brain, eyes and how things interact in the mind is tough and we just don't have the knowledge base here to predict all the outcomes. As someone who's had serious medical problems with my eyes (and almost ended up blind) I can tell you that Mann's concerns are valid, its very easy to mess up your perception with tragic consequences. I can remember walking up to a set of stairs and having to stop because I couldn't tell where they started. It's a very unpleasant experience.

Re:Hard to imagine missing something fundamental? (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051149)

Hard to imagine Google missing something fundamental? No it's not. Sure, Google's business is powered by search, but consider the age of the papers they'd have had to read to know about Steve Mann's work. 30 years? The engineers fooling with Google Glass are younger than the papers in question. :P Which means they suffer from that peculiar brand of cognitive myopia that afflicts their whole generation: if it's not digital, it doesn't exist.

I think what that comment meant was that with all the people in and around Google that have used these glasses for extended periods of time it's hard to imagine that there are any serious problems that haven't been reported by these users. It's not like they haven't been testing them extensively.

Re:Hard to imagine missing something fundamental? (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051225)

Quite possibly. And that makes more sense.

I haven't exactly been avidly consuming Google Glass media, but from what little I have seen, it doesn't sound like they're ever trying to block vision and provide a vision substitute with a camera. Instead, it's built like the HUD used by military pilots for decades now (only cheaper). It presents an overlay, rather than a complete substitution for vision in that eye. So yes, there's a camera in them, but the camera data is used for recognition of people and places and things, rather than being streamed back out to the eye. So Steve Mann's comments in that regard aren't particularly applicable.

Re:Hard to imagine missing something fundamental? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051471)

Let's consider that same comment, applied to a recent example you might be familiar with:

I think what the comment meant was that with all the people in and around Boeing that have used these planes for extended periods of time it's hard to imagine that there are any serious problems that haven't been reported by these users. It's not like they haven't been testing them extensively.

Boeing: founded in 1916. Designing and building planes for nearly a century. Product announced in 2003, designing and building to first flight took 6 years. Conducted thousands of hours of flight testing over 3 subsequent years. (~4600 flight hours in late 2011, untold thousands of hours of component & static & airframe & integration testing; Don't know how many have accumulated since then). Entire fleet grounded in 2013 due to apparent issues related to the electrical / battery system.

Google: founded in 1998. Advertising and writing software, has produced... what, 3 years of experience designing consumer hardware (the Nexus line of phones/tabs)? Have a history of leaving services in "beta" for years. Have a history of abandoning projects that aren't successful. Product has been in limited testing for less than a year. Guy who's helped define the field of wearable computing for the last 30 years says, "their design has some shortcomings," and we immediately respond with, "That's UNPOSSIBLE!"

Because nobody ever makes a mistake, or produces a bad design? Or you're just that eager to jock Google?

Yep, totally inconceivable that a company could miss something.

Re:Hard to imagine missing something fundamental? (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43052023)

Google rarely looks outside their self imposed sandbox.

Look at this Slashdot posting from just a couple of weeks ago. They got a patent replicating mainframe techniques from the 1970's.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/02/19/2316227/google-patents-staple-of-70s-mainframe-computing [slashdot.org]

"'The lack of interest, the disdain for history is what makes computing not-quite-a-field,' Alan Kay once lamented. And so it should come as no surprise that the USPTO granted Google a patent Tuesday for the Automatic Deletion of Temporary Files, perhaps unaware that the search giant's claimed invention is essentially a somewhat kludgy variation on file expiration processing, a staple of circa-1970 IBM mainframe computing and subsequent disk management software. From Google's 2013 patent: 'A path name for a file system directory can be "C:temp\12-1-1999\" to indicate that files contained within the file system directory will expire on Dec. 1, 1999.' From Judith Rattenbury's 1971 Introduction to the IBM 360 computer and OS/JCL: 'EXPDT=70365 With this expiration date specified, the data set will not be scratched or overwritten without special operator action until the 365th day of 1970.' Hey, things are new if you've never seen them before!"

If you assume that you are always smarter then everyone else, and you ignore history, then you are effectively stupid. Google people collectively think way to highly of themselves. Some big failures are inevitable.

Re:Hard to imagine missing something fundamental? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43052199)

Hard to imagine Google missing something fundamental? No it's not. Sure, Google's business is powered by search, but consider the age of the papers they'd have had to read to know about Steve Mann's work. 30 years? The engineers fooling with Google Glass are younger than the papers in question. :P Which means they suffer from that peculiar brand of cognitive myopia that afflicts their whole generation: if it's not digital, it doesn't exist.

Not learning from history is not a digital problem.

It's also not a new problem, or even one that is isolated to "their" generation.

That is a problem of ignorance and stupidity, and no, there is no other way to say it. Deja Moo has happened far too often in our history because of it. And to be quite honest, if you're going to design one of the first commercially available wearable next-gen computing devices, it might prove beneficial to do a little research...especially on the guy who spent decades pioneering it.

I suppose every employee at Apple today has never heard of The Woz because they're too young...

As far as the dead tree excuse, I might accept that...from any company other than the one in charge of indexing the entire digital universe.

Prepare to be atomiz...ated (2, Informative)

jabberw0k (62554) | about a year and a half ago | (#43050991)

The word is disorenting, I have been reliably informated. Your misuse of suffixes must be cessated and desistated, or your poetic license will be cancellated. Although "(dis)orientation," "information," "cessation," and "cancellation" are verbs, the corresponding verbs are "(dis)orient," "inform," "cease," and "cancel" -- no "-ate" at the end.

Re:Prepare to be atomiz...ated (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051215)

The word is disoriented, I have been reliably informed. Your non use of the letter i must cease and desist!

"Hard" is better than "Emasculating" (1)

dccase (56453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051029)

Isn't it?

Re:"Hard" is better than "Emasculating" (0)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051211)

For up to 4 hours, after that it becomes a medical problem, please see your doctor immediately.

Sour Grapes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051083)

Sounds like this guy spent thirty years of his life discovering problems, and failing to figure out solutions.

Re:Sour Grapes (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051223)

You obviously haven't read the other slashdot articles on him; he figured out the solutions years ago; that's why this issue with Google Glass is odd; if they'd read all his research, they should have been aware of the problems and the fixes.

Re:Sour Grapes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051229)

That's kinda par the course when you're 30 years ahead of what is technologically practical. The question is how significantly did those failures contribute to the technology becoming practical?

Get off my virtual lawn! (4, Interesting)

MCSEBear (907831) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051143)

You might want to listen to the guy who figured out how to pull this off without damaging the user's eyesight decades ago, Google.

TFA:

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.

Using lenses in this way forces one eye to remain focused at some set distance while the focus of the other eye shifts according to whatever the wearer is looking at, near or far. Doing this leads to severe eyestrain, which again can be harmful, especially to children.

Re:Get off my virtual lawn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051819)

Duh! There's a reason you got two eyes. A main and a backup.

Re:Get off my virtual lawn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051977)

Is that why Shannen Dohertery's eyes are different sizes?

AH-64 Apache Helicopter (4, Insightful)

balsy2001 (941953) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051177)

The Target Acquisition and Designation Sights, Pilot Night Vision System (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Target_Acquisition_and_Designation_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.

Re:AH-64 Apache Helicopter (4, Informative)

mill3d (1647417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051335)

The Apache systems completely replaces the field of view of the targeting eye and is designed to work alongside binocular vision, overlaying data atop what is seen by both eyes ; albeit in different colors (augmented reality). The perspective remains the same for both eyes though.

The problem with Glass seems to be in forcing a spatially unrelated image onto one eye forcing the focus to shift from from the environment to the Glass display, the strain coming from the other eye having to focus somewhere in mid-air. That's unnatural and needs to be forced without a distinct object to look at.

Re:AH-64 Apache Helicopter (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051677)

the strain coming from the other eye having to focus somewhere in mid-air. That's unnatural and needs to be forced without a distinct object to look at.

I don't see this (no pun intended). It would be no harder to focus on than focusing on your hand held up in the air. (And it specifically avoids the problem Mann is talking about.)

Re:AH-64 Apache Helicopter (2)

mill3d (1647417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051733)

Stereoscopic vision effortlessly focuses on objects we look at with both eyes; it takes a conscious effort to focus on an arbitrary point that isn't seen by both eyes. As an example, put a finger in front of one eye in a way that the other eye doesn't see it, just as is the case with Glass (close the "finger" eye to check). Now of you try to focus on your finger, you'll notice that your vision doesn't naturally do so ; the natural reflex is to move your head back. Since you can't move your head in this case, focus needs to be forced in place and has a hell of time getting a clear view of the finger.

Re:AH-64 Apache Helicopter (1)

balsy2001 (941953) | about a year and a half ago | (#43052085)

It is very common for competition shooters to put a barrier in front of one eye while focusing on the target with the other (I don't find that it take conscious effort, and I only shoot like this randomly as I am not a competition shooter). This keeps them from having to have one eye closed for long periods which gets tiring. In the case of a shooter, your brain just forgets about the other eye while in that situation. If I place my finger close enough to my eye that the other one can't see it, I can't focus on it regardless of effort because it is too close. With shooting you are focusing on the farther object and forgetting the closer (and the barrier is far to close to focus on anyway), maybe that is an important distinction.

Re:AH-64 Apache Helicopter (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43052133)

I did something like that before I wrote my comment. I put my left hand between my eyes like a curtain, held up my right hand close enough that it wasn't visible to my left eye. And just now, a better example; holding up a small notepad page and reading what's written on it. I just don't have the problem you are describing (nor the "readjustment" that Mann is describing.) I focus just as easily as I can with one eye closed.

Obviously, if I put my hand/finger too close to my eye, I have trouble focusing. But again, no different than if I have one eye closed. And even that is only because I'm over 40 and my near-focus is starting to decay with age.

[I just realised something... it sounds like you are also placing your finger extremely close to your eye. Ie, as close as the Glass display in the images. Do you realise that the display has a lens that changes the apparent focal depth to the equivalent of a foot or two in front of you? You don't focus close to your eye, you focus through the display to see what it's projecting.]

Re:AH-64 Apache Helicopter (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | about a year and a half ago | (#43052253)

I did something like that before I wrote my comment. I put my left hand between my eyes like a curtain, held up my right hand close enough that it wasn't visible to my left eye. And just now, a better example; holding up a small notepad page and reading what's written on it. I just don't have the problem you are describing (nor the "readjustment" that Mann is describing.) I focus just as easily as I can with one eye closed.

I don't think that experiment has much value, unless you try to model the cumulative effect involved. Consider how easy it is to do one pushup even if you're not in shape. But try doing 100 in a short time and you'll have a problem if you're not used to it.

Same issue in this case. Doing a quick test won't cause much strain. Doing a continuous test of about 4 hours would probably give much more interesting resutls, and you may also be able to test TFA's claim that *after the test is over*, the eyes have trouble readjusting back.

Of course, from the point of Google there may be nothing wrong with causing a bit of discomfort when people take off the glasses after a full day's use, as it would encourage them to wear them longer and more frequently.

Re:AH-64 Apache Helicopter (1)

balsy2001 (941953) | about a year and a half ago | (#43052005)

You may be saying this but for those unfamiliar with the set up, see the third picture in this link and the description (http://science.howstuffworks.com/apache-helicopter5.htm). It works with a monocular lens, the left eye never gets covered nor has the projected image.

Re:AH-64 Apache Helicopter (3, Informative)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051649)

And a percentage of pilot-candidates flunk out because they can never adapt to it. The rest have to be trained to it. Not something you want in a general consumer device.

That said, I don't see Mann's objection. His first display worked like the Apache system, with the same problems. Google Glass works differently to both.

Harder than trifocles (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051237)

Is adjusting harder than adjusting to bifocals or trifocals?

I doubt it....

Umm, why would you take it off? (1)

pla (258480) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051273)

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.

Hey, I'd rather have the direct neural link too. But seriously? Whoever manages to come up with a truly viable wearable "augmented reality" system wins. Why the hell would I want to take it off?

Let my brain adjust to having my left higher and further to the left! If I really need to react on a moment's notice to a loss of the HUD image - I'll close one eye.

Navin Johnson... (1)

Gadget27 (1931378) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051313)

...writing out millions of checks for 1 dollar and nine cents! I see history may repeat itself.

What about people wearing actual glasses already? (1)

SchizoDuckie (1051438) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051455)

So what's supposed to happen when my eye is already malfunctioning and i need glasses anyway? Can i adjust the focal point? How does it compensate for any cylindrical adjustments i might need? Does this work when it projects through my glasses? As an already hipster-before-it-was-hip, wearing glasses because I need to see sharp, i've never seen any of these questions answered... Will I feel disabled because I can't see what's projected by google glasses?

Re:What about people wearing actual glasses alread (2)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051779)

Judging by the PR page [google.com] (third image from bottom), the GG can have your conventional lenses attached. But it looks like you can't wear regular glasses and Glass, so you'd need to get your Glass customised with your lenses. [Obligatory "Yo dawg..." taken as read.]

However, in some of the early demos, the display itself can be removed from its own frame and attached to any suitable pair of glasses, with the display sitting just in front of your normal lens. Ie, the included frame is just for people who don't wear glasses. So we may be in luck, we might be able to buy the display without the expensive custom frame. But it's interesting/creepy that in all current PR images (I mean all of them) none of the Glass users wear glasses.

I don't mean to be 'that guy', but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051711)

Technology isn't for the dummies. This kind of thing won't be difficult for the tech savvy and intelligent to adapt to. Sorry, maybe I'm just a little irate with all the lowest common denominator compromises lately. I just wish there were more intelligent folks so we could fully utilize technology without having to dumb it down for the LCDs.

Adjusting to Google Glass May Be Hard, OR: (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051953)

It's another massive failure of Google (viz Wave)
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