Mind-Probing HUD Glasses Finally Invented: Cyborgs Rejoice
He’s walking in the thoroughfare when a woman stops him and asks him for the time. As he check his psi-spectacle readout, a red alert pops up over her head — she’s anxious. What about?
Scene from a futuristic cyberpunk novel? No, apparently this is now a modern day scenario that has resulted from the research of one Rosalind Picard and others from MIT. The New Scientist article calls them “social X-ray specs”, recalling the old comic book ads. But you could call it “ESP” or “spidey sense” or “deep probes” without any real loss of accuracy, if you agree with Arthur C. Clarke that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
The glasses, of course, are not truly magical, though, and can’t tell you anything that isn’t already visible on somebody’s face — but they are less fallible than human observation (experiments have shown a 64% hit rate for the glasses, compared to 54% for unaided humans). As our detective stories populated with rationalist superbrains frequently demonstrate, there is a lot more information to be had via simple observation than most people realise. In fact, of all the analogies to fiction available, ‘Sherlock glasses’ might be more to the point than ‘X-ray’ or ‘ESP’. Or for a more modern take, ‘Lightman glasses’.
Considering this is likely just the first of many inventions to come that will seemingly grant your fellow human beings powers right out of genre fiction, it’s worth keeping a close eye (no pun) on this particular flavour of ‘augmented reality’. The technology won’t be perfect, in our opinion, until it also suggests possible responses for replying to any detected emotional distress — hopefully including the phrases ‘PLEASE COME BACK LATER’ and ‘FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE’…
[via Boing Boing]