Reviewing contemporary smart glasses

Monday 3rd January, 2022 - Bruce Sterling

*It’s been ten years since Google Glass.


Will someone figure out how we interact with these glasses?
There’s no mouse or trackpad or keyboard for AR. There isn’t even an agreed-upon controller. While VR headsets generally tend to have dual controllers that look like a gamepad split apart, AR headsets tend to either rely on hand tracking, or phone interfaces, to interact. Neither is ideal. Controls often feel imprecise, even at the best of times. Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 uses finger pinches and air taps to work, but that’s not good enough for me as an everyday device. Some AR headsets like Magic Leap used their own little handheld controllers. I’ve seen some that use connected rings.

The point is, no one’s agreed on a killer solution. Meta (Facebook) sees wrist-worn neural input tech as the answer, sensing finger movement and translating it into precise controls. But that tech isn’t expected next year. Meta may make its own watch, which could be a steppingstone as a wrist-worn controller. Apple’s expected VR headset could lean on the Apple Watch too (who knows). But in 2022, figuring out how we control smart glasses seems as big an unsolved problem as anything else….