Mini Augmentation

With the recent introduction of products such as the Apple Watch and Google Glass, technology companies are finding ways to “improve” gadgets so much that they are no longer hand held, but attached to our bodies. Beyond that, techies are making predictions that products that will allow us to “enhance” our vision of reality will be released within the next ten years. This is where “augmented reality” technology comes in.

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Mini, the BMW subsidiary, announced this week that they would be constructing and releasing a set “Augmented Vision Goggles”. These Goggles are set to be used by drivers to better help them navigate and manage the settings of their vehicle and are to be unveiled later this month at the Shanghai Motor Show, according to CNN. So what do these goggles actually do that would better help drivers? The product would allow users to access information about their car from both within and outside of the vehicle. For example, outside of the vehicle, the goggles can guide lost users to where their car may be in a crowded parking lot, or be used as navigation on foot. Once in the car, the goggles display information that would be shown on the dashboard such as the speedometer and road speed limits. Regardless of where the driver is looking, the goggles will adjust automatically to continuously display the information just above the steering wheel. Additionally, the

Now heres where things get concerning: the goggles will also work as a screen to notify the driver of things less related to the road. For example, the device will notify the driver with a small visual image every time they receive a text or other important message while driving. The driver can then decide to ignore the message or have the vehicle read it aloud over the speaker system for them. While I think the goggles were a great idea in theory, thats all I think they are. Drivers are already under incredible pressure to pay attention to the road and with the addition of things like cell phones, it has become increasingly more difficult. adding an interface laid directly over the drivers eyes could not be safe, no matter how helpful the information being displayed is. It will be interesting to see how the release of these goggles and other similar products, such as Apple’s future plans to tinker with augmented reality, will be accepted or approved, if they even are.

9 comments

  1. I really question whether these goggles could be successful. Google Glass failed because people didn’t want them and found them unnecessary (http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/20/opinion/pease-google-glass-what-went-wrong/). And Mini’s goggles just seem unnecessary. The convenience of the Apple Watch or other wearable technologies is that it makes the technology feel like part of your body, not another layer of “extra stuff”. If this technology were to make driving easier then I could see the appeal for these goggles. However, in some ways, these goggles just seem to add to the distraction of current trends in technology, which is the last thing I would want when driving. Apple’s iOS in the Car seems like a much better application of molding driving and technology. Cars should be able to integrate technology into the driving experience only to the point where it not a burden. And with the seemingly constant notifications, I believe these goggles would post more of a burden on drivers than a source of relief. But who knows… maybe Mini will figure out a way to address the issue of accidents caused by texting and driving through the release of these goggles, and that could be a huge advancement in the wearable technology business. Interesting post, Shawn!

  2. Like Alan, I think these goggles will be a flop. I don’t really see too much benefit from them. It would be nice to have a little bit of help finding my car in the parking lot, but most of the time that’s not a huge problem of mine to begin with. While I think it’s important for the car industry to keep up with technology, I also think it is important to realize that technology is also becoming a danger to drivers who choose to use their technology while operating their vehicles. Many states have added laws restricting the use of devices while driving as a result of many fatal crashes. I may be old fashioned, but I am content with driving with the radio on and often find driving to be enjoyable on its own (as long as I’m not stuck in traffic!). Interesting topic!

  3. Not sure I agree with @lipchin ‘s assessment. Glass failed because it “wasn’t ready for prime time,” not because people didn’t want. I have no doubt augmented reality is coming and it s the future. I do doubt whether people want to don googles to drive, but I can see the windshield being a projector for augmented reality. Our rental car over Christmas projected the speed onto the windshield, and it was surprisingly effective. I could see much more advancement here.

  4. I agree with both Rainey and Alan; I believe that these googles (although very cool) aren’t necessary and are another distraction to drivers. I’m interested to see how governments both state and federal will approach these kinds of glasses and whether something like this would cause an increase in accidents. It seems to me like they are trying to make changes in the industry and be the first movers on a new technology. If they do end up failing, perhaps they could try to diversify the company and focus more on the aspect of navigation while walking, maybe even connecting the technology to larger cities’ subway systems and general transportation grids. Either way, I think its a very intriguing concept like google glass that has the potential to really kick off.

  5. I see both sides of this argument. I think it could be a distraction and an unnecessary. I can’t imagine utilizing the goggles but that has probably been said about every technological advancement. There have been a lot of articles about augmented reality and I think it will be interesting to see how it progresses and what consumers gravitate towards. Great post Shawn!

  6. Alyssa Frey · ·

    I really need these goggles for the sole purpose of finding my car when I’m lost in the parking lot at the mall. I agree with Prof. Kane — I can see these becoming a huge success, possibly integrated into people’s already existing glasses/contacts. A lot of people did want Google Glass but it wasn’t ready for the mainstream market. I can’t wait to see where augmented reality takes us.

  7. I agree with Prof. Kane – I think a smart windshield would be much more effective and practical. I think they’ve got the right idea here, but the physical product needs fine-tuning. It will be interesting to see how this product advances!

  8. I agree with you here Shawn. I think Google Glass is one thing, where you’re just walking around or sitting in your living room. I think that using something of a comparable nature behind the wheel of a car is something completely different. Driving demands the utmost focus at all times, and someone like myself would only get distracted by everything going on in those goggles. I couldn’t even write this comment without switching the page to check facebook and checking my phone twice. How am i supposed to drive a dangerous vehicle at 75 mph down a highway. I see the risks of this technology greatly outweighing the rewards.

  9. Interesting read! I agree with @lipchin that this product seems to pose more harm than good in its initial stages. Where technology moves fast, it is important to not move too fast when safety is involved. It is one thing to develop a product that has a learning curve in order for the user to enjoy the product and a whole other thing to develop a product that has a learning curve in order to enjoy the product and use it safely. I am sure governments will have something to say about wearing these goggles while driving. It will be exciting to track their integration with the public.

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