Imagine investing tens of billions in head-mounted computing like Oculus and seeing no better use case than social networking. Enter Facebook+RayBans:
“We’re passionate about exploring devices that can give people better ways to connect with those closest to them. Wearables have the potential to do that. With EssilorLuxottica we have an equally ambitious partner who’ll lend their expertise and world-class brand catalogue to the first truly fashionable smart glasses,” Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s vice president of the Reality Labs division, said in a statement.
Controlling your mouse by looking at your screen is more far-reaching and orders of magnitude cheaper. precisiongazemouse.org is all that.
Using your gaze as an input device enables all applications where the user’s hands and voice are unavailable.
I’m particularly inspired by musical performance, where the hands and even feet are committed to controlling an instrument and the voice is singing. Guitar pedal boards are a huge distraction.
Public speaking has similar constraints, but probably better budgets. Removing hand controllers from teleprompters would make the speaker more natural and authentic, less like an infomercial.
Not that eyeballs are the only viable approach. There’s more than one way to do it, and brain-computer interfaces are just around the bend. “This mind-controlled concept car lets you switch radio stations just by thinking about it“.
…but gaze detection is both massively simpler and cheaper. It is the simplest thing that could possibly work.
However, even though I do not believe in the known use cases for Facebook’s new smart glasses, I believe the fashion side is a breakthrough, and I believe in fashion. People care a lot about how they look.
It’s not just Mr Fashion Nightmare himself. Pretty much all of us prefer to be Joey in sunglasses:
Over Joey with scary naked eyes:
Human factors are real. I have seen people wearing an big-ol’ Oculus in a cafe and the appearance is unacceptable. They might as well be wearing a strap-on potbelly. Human factors are arguably the only factors that matter. The Ray-Ban Stories video is entirely about human stuff, not tech.
Fashion isn’t easy to pull off. There’s a reason so many people wear Ramones t-shirts and so few wear Facebook t-shirts. If you’re advanced enough, you can pull off a Doja Cat.
Zuckerberg is a Terminator robot, but he is not dumb. Solving the issue of looking snazzy is a meaningful advance.