A meeting poised between the real and the virtual
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, on the subway with a dreamy abstracted gaze behind his Google Glasses
"I've just had a brief conversation with the most powerful man in the world on subway 3."
This is the text of the tweet launched from the Manhattan downtown 3 line, posted by
Noah Zerkin, an expert in the interactions between hardware and the human being.
It is indeed Sergey Brin, no less, co-founder of Google, who was snapped on the subway with a dreamy expression behind the legendary Google Glasses. This prototype of "augmented reality" glasses, developed in the futuristic Google X laboratories in Mountain View and at present made available only to a limited number of "developers" who are entitled to purchase them on preview for 1,500 dollars and are preparing to test them with a view to suggesting modifications and improvements.
This new breakthrough makes it possible to augment reality by enhancing it with additional viewpoints, data and information. Although it won't be on the market before 2014, the official presentations are scheduled shortly in both San Francisco and New York.
The photo taken by Zerkin on the subway of the Big Apple shows a relaxed-looking Brin with abstracted gaze, wrapped up in his own, virtual, world, which takes its cue from reality but then goes on to boost it, to meddle with it, specify it, even contaminate it, pursuing the dual principle of the ultra-tech that, on the one hand augments reality and, on the other, puts it in perspective and mediates it. Glasses that respond to simple voice controls and replace or overlay normal vision without eliminating it, reconstructing a mental universe that exceeds experience. Glasses with philosophic, artistic lenses redolent of visionary sci-fi literature and cinema. They also claim kinship with other dreams and other inventions, from the retinal display that projects images directly onto the retina of the eye, to the Google Goggles that enhance the engine's image-based research function, from the Golden-I wireless headset computer to Steve Mann's Eye Taps, cameras that film what you see so that you can watch it again.
The Google Glasses are based on the Android system. The design team includes Sebastian Thrun who also conceived for Google the driverless car.