Google yesterday revealed a product they’re working on called Google Glass. It’s the notion that the phone is a primitive tool and that there’s a better solution, namely a headset. The problem is, it’s Google behind this project. I think the idea of having an object that replaces your phone is a smart and obvious one, but I don’t think it’s a minimal Geordi LaForge visor. In all practicality, it’ll be a contact lens, then replacing your eye all together with something cybernetic, but that’s a whole different story.
What the video above entails is that you’ve got a heads up display, something you see in video games all the time. The HUD is a way to quickly access all of your information at a glance. My problem with this whole thing is what Google would do with your information, namely, selling it. I don’t trust Google anymore and I think a lot of people feel the same way. Could you imagine ads popping up on this thing when you based by Target? Oh wait, someone already made a video about it. I can’t think of anything more horrifying than my vision being blinded by a banner advertisement.
When I buy an iPhone, or any Apple product for that matter, I don’t worry about them collecting my personal data to sell to advertisers. If they collect data, I’d assume they used it to make my experience better, not to increase their net worth. But that’s also because Apple is primarily a hardware company while Google is an ad powered search company. Gmail is used to gather information and sell advertisements, as is Google Search, same with Google Chrome and Maps. I use all of these services daily because they’re the best, but I still can’t help feeling gross about it when I think about it for an extended period of time.
Plus there’s the fact that this is made by the same company that made Android, a fragmented mess of an operating system which is whored out to all the carriers. What’s to say this experience would be any better? They certainly haven’t proven themselves yet. John Gruber tweeted the video below yesterday, which I feel would be a much more accurate version of what the experience of Google Glass would be like. Enjoy.
Data is beginning to flow from of everywhere these days. As mobile devices continue to spread we’ve slowly and steadily begun mapping our world, through our own eyes. We’ve got geotagging and image sharing networks, but what about the stuff we can’t see, abstract things like electromagnetic fields? Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby have taken this idea and created these beautiful visualizations, which are like spatial holograms of bubbling information. I find the idea of visualizing things we can’t see an extremely interesting field. It’s like when you see maps of wind currents, we know it’s there but you can’t quite see it. There’s also the idea of emotional cartography, a term I think that was coined by Christian Nold, which can tell you things like the emotional states of people in a certain geographic area.
For the last 2000 years we’re a people who’ve relied upon geographical maps to determine our next location, but what if that changes in the next 100 years? What if instead you navigate based on your personal interests? We’re soon approaching a breakdown between the physical and digital worlds, so much so that I think one day we may have to come up with a new word for it all. It’s fun to dream up potentials for the future, and important to start making them reality.
Browsing through Dribbble earlier and came across the designer of the new Pay with Square icon, Robert Andersen. I was simply going to tweet “OMG MY BRAIN EXPLODED” but I feel like Robert’s work deserves more love than that.
The image is detailed beyond belief, I can’t imagine where he even started with this. Referencing the holograms you find on credit cards, Robert has created a piece of art that I would absolutely frame on my wall. What’s wonderful to me is that he put so much detail and love into this icon, something that most people (non-designers) won’t give a second thought to. So please take a second, click the image above to see the large version, and soak in the details in this labor of love.
Technology is allowing us to push the boundaries of how we do common tasks like using a calculator, as evidenced by Rechner, a gesture based calculator app for the iPhone. Designed by Berger & Föhr, Rechner allows you to swipe left and right to add and subtract, swipe down to open a menu for options such as multiplication or division, and swipe up for equals. It seems almost counter-intuitive to the way we currently do math, with dedicated buttons for each of these tasks. But when you watch the video it’s actually quite remarkable how easy it is to use this app, and how you could potentially work faster on it. It’s great to see people experimenting like this, shifting paradigms of how we normally work.
Continuing the idea of sound design a bit further from the previous post about Leg Bound, is “a movie from the point of view of the Solid Rocket Booster with sound mixing and enhancement done by the folks at Skywalker Sound.” You know how there’s no sound in space because it’s a vacuum? Well whatever the hell the cameras and recording devices are picking up on this video is something pretty strange and fantastic. I found the sounds to be rather soothing, you know, once the rocket has been detached and all that. It might not be the most engaging thing to watch, it takes about 8 minutes for the rocket booster to fall back to Earth, but strap on some headphones and take a listen to something you’ve never heard before.
Since then I’ve been wearing the FuelBand every day, testing it and seeing if I liked it or not. To be totally clear, I don’t owe Nike anything, and I wasn’t paid. If you’re unfamiliar with the what the FuelBand is, here’s Nike’s description of it.
Nike+ FuelBand tracks your activity through a sport-tested accelerometer, then translates every move into NikeFuel. Nike+ FuelBand tracks running, walking, dancing, basketball – and dozens of everyday activities.
The FuelBand has joined the class of lifestyle workout products along the lines of Jawbone’s UP and Fitbit. The idea is that these devices track your life, and help you live better. But there’s a huge distinction between the UP/Fitbit and the Nike FuelBand, and that’s accuracy. The Fitbit tracks your steps, your calories, the amount of time you sleep, and the UP does roughly the same thing. The FuelBand though tracks your movement, but the accuracy doesn’t really matter. What Nike has done is turn staying fit into a game.
Microsoft has been doing some really interesting things with UI design lately, especially with the Windows Mobile UI in their new phones. So far though, they haven’t quite hit a home-run with their desktop experience, even though it may not be around for much longer. When I came across this UI concept from Sputnik8 I thought it was a really great idea and pretty nicely executed.
I haven’t soaked in all the details and minutia of the design yet, but from a purely aesthetic viewpoint, I think he’s right on point. The Windows Mobile design is nice and flat with big chunks of text, and Sputnik8 has done a great job of carrying this theme over to a desktop experience. It’s also nice to see that the UI is rather tap-able, so perhaps the UI could even be used for a touchable desktop experience, a path that technology is certainly heading down.