Permit me to not act my age.
I was all grown up already when the Internet became a big deal, scarcely two decades ago. I was like a kid in a candy store. Still, I’ve only had a couple of heart-stopping moments in those 20 years in which everything has changed.
My heart skipped a beat (along with probably only thousands of others) when I downloaded Mosaic, the first Web browser, on the first day it was released. It consistently froze up. But that small, terribly flawed piece of software was really a time portal, showing me the future, and I could barely breathe.
Two years ago I got my hands on the first iPad on the first day it went on sale. My unboxing was unceremonious because I had to rush and show it off during a couple of TV interviews. But when I got home late on that Saturday in April and finally had a chance to put it through its paces, it took my breath away. I was a kid again: full of wonder and utterly immune to negativity.
Call me childish, but I had the same primal reaction to the video, and the reporting of my Wired colleague Steven Levy, on Google’s Project Glass. As Levy writes, Project Glass is “an augmented reality system that will give users the full range of activities performed with a smartphone – without the smartphone. Instead, you wear some sort of geeky prosthetic (one of those pictured is reminiscent of the visor that Geordi La Forge wore on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but Google has also been experimenting with a version that piggybacks on regular spectacles).”
The augmented reality features in Glass aren’t new. Bionic Eye brought AR to the iPhone in 2009: You held up the phone at eye level and nearby points of interest floated through the camera’s lens. Sekai Camera, an augmented reality smartphone app, not only provides a heads-up display of information but also adds a social element. Yelp tossed in Monocle, another augmented reality feature, as an Easter egg in its app. Heck, in December 2009 Wired highlighted the seven best augmented reality apps for iPhone and Android.