Google announced on July 19, 2022 that they would begin testing new smart glasses with augmented reality technology. An interesting question is raised when we think about the future of smart glasses. What will happen to smartphones?
Mark Zuckerberg believes that the idea behind his company Meta is very important, so he renamed the company to reflect this to align his company towards the Metaverse path. He believes smart glasses will replace the use of smartphones by 2030.
How true can that be?
Because smartphones are something that we can never live without. We’ve seen lots of attempts by big tech companies trying to bring in the AR tech into the world, but nothing has really caught on.
Since, VR has actually already become a big trend and is likely to become the next big thing in a few years, somewhere in between lies AR technology that has immense potential.
Instead of completely immersing the user with computer-generated images, AR projects digital information onto the user’s view of the physical world. The best part is that AR can be used on smartphones. Snapchat and Instagram both have fun “face filters” which take advantage of this, but the real pioneer in this area was Nintendo’s Pokemon Go.
Concept of AR in the Metaverse
Back in 2022, as the pandemic was still raging on, Google made a huge and somewhat controversial acquisition. The tech giant purchased North, one of the most promising smart glasses startups available at that time.
Although Google has not confirmed the exact price, it is believed to be over $180 million, according to the Globe and Mail.
AR’s best use cases will be in persistent, online realities because the most innovative metaverse ideas involve melding the real and virtual worlds. While if we move one step further, there is MR or Mixed reality which is a blend of the physical and digital world that allows us to stay connected with our surroundings as we carry out tasks that still require contact with the real world.
You can call it the cousins of AR and VR.
Workplaces designed for VR, such as Meta’s Horizon Workrooms, presume that all coworkers are in different locations – even if they transpire to be occupying the same room. That’s already a great start for experiencing virtual worlds.
The Meta founder predicts that AR and VR will be the future, and he has already begun investing in startups involving these technologies.
Alex Kipman, the man behind Microsoft’s HoloLens product, strongly believes that smart glasses are the future. Even though smartphones are widely popular, he believes that they are dying–just “people just don’t know it yet.”
The main problem with VR is that we are stuck in one place. We can’t really move or interact with physical objects and this becomes a big barrier for VR to really create a immersive experience in the Metaverse.
AR on the other hand removes that barrier and fully allows us to interact with physical objects in the real world, simultaneously while being present in the Metaverse as well.
With an AR metaverse retail experience, we would be able to visit a real store to try on clothes after narrowing down our choices by browsing the shop’s inventory online. This way, we can avoid the crowds and still get the benefit of trying on products in-person.
With this new technology, we will not only be able to immerse ourselves in the experience with glasses of our own, but we will also get input and guidance from a friend who is virtually present with us wearing the same AR tech.
Emergence of 6G and End of Smartphones
Some of the world’s largest smartphone creators have started changing their perspective to match this mindset.
For example, at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year, Nokia’s CEO Pekka Lundmark said that we’ll have 6G technology available within 10 years. However, there’s a catch.
It seems inevitable that smartphones will soon be replaced by smart glasses. He believes that we’ll be using 6G networks to connect our smart glasses instead of our current smartphones.
Smart Glass and the Future of Metaverse
Many people believe that glasses are the easiest way to bring new ideas to life. In fact, smart glasses can do many of the things we use cell phones for today.
The Word to note down is “Wearables”. Technology starts small and eventually becomes wearable. As technology develops, devices are becoming increasingly portable. For example, we’ve gone from desktop computers to mobile phones to wearable devices like AR glasses.
If it weren’t for smartphones, services such as Uber, Instagram, and Airbnb likely would not be part of our lives like they are today.
It’s possible that the glasses which support AR and MR will enable us to see the defining application of web3 and metaverse technology.
So What’s the Future of the Metaverse like?
The question we should ask ourselves is Why will people use Smart Glasses and What will they use for?
AR giving us the ability to see digital information directly against the backdrop of our actual surroundings. The way we use our digital devices affects how we communicate and consume information. For example, when gaming or watching movies, the form factor of the device alters the possibilities we have.
So, it is possible that some activities like getting directions, being able to see the map, or even using Uber App with AR tech is very much a possibility.
The AR, MR and the Metaverse just needs some time, and in a few years, we are definitely going to see some big and exciting things coming up very soon.