While most people are either praising or objecting to the upcoming Windows 8 or obsessing about touch as an input method, I’m wondering when my personal computer will become available. My needs are relatively simple: I want glasses with a transparent HUD, a phone with a real OS and Kinect-like gesture, and voice recognition.
The glasses I require need a high resolution transparent display, with accompanying microphone and speakers. They also need to incorporate some Kinect-like sensors so they can read my gestures. The computing power would be mainly in my phone and the glasses could connect through Wi-Fi. Now I know Epson, Sony, Google, Microsoft, and others are already working on these types of glasses, but they seem a little way from a commercial release. I have noticed that Kogan is currently selling a pair of video glasses (they record video) for around AU$40. All I need is a depth sensor and a multi-array microphone next to the video camera, and, of course, a transparent HUD.
To avoid becoming “Yet Another Toy”, the phone/glasses combination will require a powerful OS that will let me do the same kind of things I can do on my desktop, laptop or tablet. The coming release of Windows Phone 8 fulfills this requirement, as it is based on the NT kernel and shares a number of common APIs with Windows 8, as well as increased screen resolution over WP7. The Windows 8 Modern UI is designed for multiple input methods, so I can combine gesture with voice commands, as well as using a “mouse” pointer or a virtual keyboard in mid-air or on any surface I wanted. Video Skype calls, watching movies, browsing the web, or serious Office work could all be done in any environment. Navigation systems would become personal, tags can pop-up over real world entities, and people’s Facebook profiles can float over their heads. It also offers a great tool for LARP (Live Action Role Playing), so I could take my World of Warcraft fire mage into the real world and launch virtual fireballs at other participating gamers.
However, while the possibility of my PC exists, there’s still a lot of software/hardware to improve and develop, but I feel at least optimistic that we’ll see some movement towards these devices in the next few years. I didn’t really expect that we would have a Kinect device this early and certainly didn’t expect it to be sold to the general public.
Now I probably won’t be satisfied until I have a display wired to my optic nerve, an embedded computer, and a few extra petabytes of memory inserted in my skull (with indexing please), but the glasses/phone combination seems to be becoming more and more likely. It promises a personal computer that will be with you all the time (or, at least, until you take them off), and the freedom to leave behind desktops, laptops and tablets.