a students' magazine / did you know?

A new world is arriving!

Hi guys! How was your summer? Nice to see you again! 😉

Today I’m going to talk about a new step that technology is making to improve our connection with computers, literally creating a new reality.

A long time ago on a great day the first semi-conductor made of silicon was built as a transistor, and in that moment a giant (r)evolution started thanks to many researches that led to the creation of the very first basic microprocessors, which however can’t be compared with the modern ones. On this matter it’s important to remember the name of the first company that produced such things, its name was Intel. Most probably you’ll find this brand written somewhere on your computer or on other devices:  just think of how much Intel has changed history since 1971!

Nowadays, the situation has changed a lot : we have super-performing computers that can do whatever you like (I’m still waiting for a coffee served by mine though) and we also have many other devices powered by a microprocessor, such as smartphones, digital frames, cameras, television sets, watches and even glasses! Yes, you read it right, glasses! I’m talking about Google Glass, GlassUp or Sony SmartGlass. These amazing instruments are still in development and they are way too expensive for us (Google Glass costs about 1500$).

The interesting fact is that to create Google Glass researchers started with other older tools, like Oculus Rift, an evolution on the link between us and the tech world in a way that is fascinating to talk about. This evolution consists in Virtual Reality (or VR) which can give us unique experiences.

Now we have to distinguish between two groups of devices :

  1. Virtual reality (ex. Oculus Rift)
  2. Virtual reality in reality (ex. Google Glass)

The development began with the first group: it was designed for gamers to get a full immersion in the game setting, giving them the feeling of being part of the game. This target was achieved thanks to head 3D tracking, which allows you to move the visual of the game as you move your head in all directions, and to two screens in front of your eyes as “reality”.

The second group instead improves the reality that we normally see with a special pair of glasses. Sounds strange? Well, take a look at this:

As you can see, there is a tiny specific screen that can be used like the one on your smartphone, well, kind of. Indeed that device can only be activated and used with your voice and it allows you to do mostly anything you want : from searching lyrics of your favourite song to taking a photo of a special moment.

Now that I have given a brief description of these new tools, we can draw some conclusions.

First of all, all these technological innovations are great inventions that many of us would like to own, but I think that this “craving” for technology should be downsized. I mean, yes they are clever tools, but think that we already spend a lot of time in front of a screen and possessing these tools would mean that we’d never look up from a display since these glasses can be worn everywhere  (well maybe not underwater) so we would never take our eyes off from a tech device and this could lead to alienation. This hypothesis is way on an extreme level, but it could happen with the abuse of these devices. In particular there has already been a case of “google glass addiction” documented as follows by the CNN :

Google Glass users frequently reach for the device, tapping near their temples to control its features; this patient repeatedly did the same, even when the device was not there.

“He reported that if he had been prevented from wearing the device while at work, he would become extremely irritable and argumentative. Individuals with IAD (Internet Addiction Disorder, editor’s note) manifest severe emotional, social, and mental dysfunction in multiple areas of daily activities due to their problematic use of technology and the internet,” according to the study abstract.”  the doctors write.

Source : http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/15/health/google-glass-addiction/

As you can read in the rest of the article, this patient has also a history of substance abuse, depressive disorder, anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, but he used to wear this pair of glasses for 18 hours a day and these are the results!

Shocked or dubious? Share your opinion in the comments section below!

See you in my next post;)

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