I realize the irony of publishing this in the week that Intel announced that it was disconnecting its smart glasses project Vaunt (pictured), but I think the days of the smartphone are numbered and the smart glasses will be the that kills him
If you're like me, you have a cold sweat when your phone's battery drops below 10%. The idea of going without a phone would be like losing a limb. An invisible digital tip, but still, a limb.
So the idea of not having a phone anymore seems a totally alien concept, but recently I've seen an emerging technology that has convinced me that we are only a few years away from the end of the smartphone.
Now I do not mean that within five years the smartphone will completely disappear, which is crazy. I just want to say that the technology that is going to kill him is here and in five years we will have heard the first monument to death. Let me explain you.
Get where we are now
It was in 2007 when Steve Jobs first came on stage with his black collar turned, comfortable slippers, iPhone 1st gen in hand (though not fully functional)) and changed the industry . That was more than ten years ago. To put it another way, that is the year Ratatouille de Pixar appeared.
And 2007 was not even when it became widespread; & # 39; No need a smartphone & # 39;, I thought & # 39;, a phone only needs to be able to make calls, send text messages and play these sweet and sweet polyphonic ringtones. & # 39;
And so, grabbing my Nokia 3510 (yes, I know, I could access the Internet, but this was in the days when the Internet on a phone cost four million pounds per minute) and My deep-rooted beliefs, I kept looking at the impending wave of smartphone adoption and I put my heels.
Little did I know that in a few years, everything I knew about phones, about Internet connection, about socializing, and most importantly about ringing tones would change completely.
In those years, the phone screens have become increasingly larger, occupying more and more real estate on the phone, until we reach the point where we are now. that manufacturers are creating a & # 39; notch & # 39; to house essential components instead of having a thin bevel.
Where are we going?
The only reasonable way to go from here is a screen beyond a screen. Where there is no physical object creating a confinement for the visual platform. And the easiest way to achieve this is to have the screen closer to your eye, creating the illusion of size.
Now, I know what you're thinking: Andrew, we already have smart glasses. And they are not good. & # 39;
And you'd be right, mainly. I am not a madman who thinks that everyone should use Google Glass or Hololens (I did not even start in the specifications of Snapchat), I think they are just previous versions.
The AR glasses that we have had up to now have undoubtedly proven to be useful (no doubt, more in the business than on the consumer side) and have taken the first bold steps. The first smartphone was never widely adopted.
But the building blocks are there, and not just in terms of the screen. We have hearing aids with bone conduction in the headphones that allow you to listen to music while clearly listening to the world around us, and EEG headphones that could allow you to control your smart glasses with only your brain.
Now, EEG control is the equation that is furthest from a technology that we are used to using, but that does not mean that it is far from being a commercially available product.
I was recently in Dubai for the GESF education conference where I flew a drone with my brain using a commercially available EEG headset. A version of this headset was used to control a Formula One car, so the idea of controlling an electronic device that plays Spotify and making calls is really not exaggerated.
And this is related to a current wave we're experiencing in electronics; the distancing of the unnatural method with which we interact with our telephones. Touching, sliding and writing may seem natural, but so is the impulse if you are used to it, and there is nothing more unnatural (and twentieth century) than pulling the levers, pushing the pedals and turning the wheels to run a machine.
There is a reason why talking to a voice assistant is more satisfying than touching the screen (when it works), since it is a more natural process.
Imagine that the next step was simply to think what you want to happen and it happens. A notification appears in the corner of your field of vision and you can & # 39; think & # 39 ;. It sounds like science fiction, but the truth is that we're not that far away.
Emotiv, the manufacturers of the drone-brain EEG headsets mentioned above are currently working on a version of the headphones that could well take the form of glasses.
"Research headphones, it's not the best thing to put in your head, but there are a couple of things that people do not mind putting in their head, and it's going to come out soon."
Just one Moore's Little of Moore's Law
While in recent years we've seen people who claim to have seen the end of Moore's Law (that the number of transistors per square inch in a circuit doubles every two years), We undoubtedly continue to see rapid development of technology, while phone improvements seem, well, iterative.
It's been years since a phone came out that was a real game changer, and that does not match the progress of the technology. The rate of technological development we are experiencing means that the gap between the laughable and the everyday is shrinking.
The difference between ten years ago and tomorrow is the same as the difference between tomorrow and three years from now. Then that gap again will basically be a year. Then a few months.
Before you know it, we've had generations of technology that changes the industry in five years. My numbers are difficult, but you understand.
With rumors that Apple is working on smart glasses, Facebook confirms that it is thinking about using the EEG control to send messages and Microsoft presents patents for a mind-controlled Windows application, it is completely possible The next big one jump in this technology is only a couple of years.
The current EEG allows you to control a cursor with your brain, which would make a rather laborious text process, especially if you're just wanting to shoot some quick jokes, but a research instrument created recently by MIT could solve that problem by monitoring subvocalizations & # 39; – The imperceptible muscle signals made from your brain to your mouth when you speak in your head.
I & # 39; I am aware that these technologies are not yet ready, but let's not forget, neither did the iPhone. I am certainly excited about the possibility of a new technology that changes the game, especially with all the advances in computer vision, which means that smart glasses could identify what you are looking at and become a real life RoboCop.