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Heads Up

olympushmd.jpgI know I said I'd wait to post participatory panopticon-related pieces until I had several to do together, but I couldn't wait on this one: Olympus is now testing a very light-weight wearable "head mounted display" (HMD). As described on Wonderland:

To explain the system briefly: it projects information on your glasses (normal or sunglasses). The goal here is to project everyday use data like train schedules or the arrival of an email or whatever else you might want. We can imagine a system that incorporates a database with information about the city and that gives information about the area where you are situated, possible hooked up to a GPS system and a system that detects what the eye is looking at.

Asian technology news website Tech-On has more:


The HMD usually does not display anything but shows simple information on certain occasions, e.g. to notify the arrival time of the train when the user comes to the station platform, or to draw attention when the user receives an e-mail. A 3.8-inch translucent screen with a diagonal length of 10 cm seems to exist 50 cm ahead of the user. When actually worn, the impression is that there is almost no annoyance, things can be seen easily through the display and it never hinders sight.

Wearable displays are just as important to the rise of the participatory panopticon as wearable cameras. It's not enough to simply record and archive what you see -- you need to be able to play it back as necessary, fully augmented and annotated. The Olympus HMD is the least obtrusive one I've seen yet, and clearly gets us closer to a point where this sort of display is integrated right into one's glasses/sunglasses.

Note that these could be useful even without ubiquitous wearable cameras. An RFID tag or barcode reader and wireless connection could make them the ultimate tool for careful shoppers...

(Via Unmediated)

Comments (3)

I am such a dork. And I'm tired.

Shopping? Train schedules? Feh.

My imagination is telling me there is a really cool computer game waiting to exploit a HUD. Something involving alternate reality games and the HUD pointing out or tagging 'ARG' items the mundanes can't see ...

Anyway, this heads up display thing is no big deal, it's not like people haven't been talking about it and designing such things like this, e.g. a "very personal computer" to mediate "the range between the literal/physical world our bodies occupy, and the abstract/virtual world our computers occupy," [that] defines a voice- and gesture- and biosensor- activated wearable computer employing "virtual 'layers' on top of physical reality, obscuring the natural sense' view of the outside world only partially and selectively." Yawn. 15 years later, they get around to actually building one. It could have been done earlier.

Also to "kill troll posts" is a plain stupid policy. Trolls are good. Haven't you read this best practice? Anyone pretending to be doing any serious work that challenges the status quo, who pretends they are not a troll, is just defeating those of us who know we are all trolls against a big machine killing our world.

When referring to "trolls" I mean those people or posts intended not to further discussion through debate and challenge, but to stifle discussion through insult, especially insults directed at people (contributors, other commenters) instead of their ideas.

The "troll-friendly" wiki argument is interesting, but hardly persuasive, as it assumes that, since some admins who claim to delete trolls actually delete unwanted but otherwise legitimate comments, all do.


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