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.
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.