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May 20, 2002

microoptical glasses
From digitalMASS: In the future, we'll be seeing the world differently. Scott Kirsner. MicroOptical Corp., a Westwood-based technology firm, produces computer displays that can be integrated into -- or clipped onto -- eyeglasses. The displays can be connected to a wide range of devices, like a cellphone, PDA, laptop, Blackberry, or a specially designed wearable computer. [Tomalak's Realm]

This is one of those technologies that stands a good chance of changing everything. It's one of the Big Five along with wireless access to the net, voice input, light weight and low power consumption. Everything is headed along these five tracks and once we're there at a reasonable price, we've got a mini-version of telepathy and omniscience. Of course, we'll also have to invent some new conventions for blending this politely into the face-to-face world. Linda Stone's concept of continuous partial attention, something that anyone with a teen in the house is familiar with, is going to become part of the fabric of everyday life across all generations, I think.

Neo-Luddites can relax. It's going to take awhile longer. At the moment, the VGA color version of these glasses sells for $2500, and that's only 640x480 resolution. Give it another 5 years, though, and some of us will have the good parts of Borg-hood without that pesky downside of a lack of autonomy.