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Google Glass: is it a step too far or the next must-have geek gadget?

In the United States around 10,000 so-called explorers have bought the glasses and are currently trying them out.

The wearable device with a tiny screen in the top right of your right eye’s vision lets you talk and send messages without the bother of using your smartphone. You can film, take pictures, get directions and much more.

Swiss scientist Christophe Moser explains how they work: “It is a pair of reality-augmented glasses with two principal components. One is a holographic film which is placed in the glasses, the other is the projector which is linked by cables – later by Wi-Fi – to a computer which projects an image on the holographic film and which is reflected on the retina.”

In Lausanne, as other labs, augmented reality is well developed. Now researchers are working on making the components smaller and enlarging the field of view. With Google Glass you can check out maps and so on even though the actual screen is very small.

The Chinese glasses by Baidu should be similar to Google’s.

And the same concerns remain – concerns over privacy, over being filmed without knowing, over private data being collected – knowingly or unknowingly – about face recognition software and so on.

Of course, with CCTV everywhere and smartphones in just about every pocket, it could be argued we have already lost whatever privacy we once possessed.

The British activist group Stop the Cyborgs is campaigning for very strict controls around Google Glass and is providing special signs that would designate an area as Google Glass free.

Meanwhile, Google’s claim that it will not need to alter its privacy policy to reflect the impact of the new product has been met with scorn by US authorities.

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