Would you use glasses as your phone?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: July 21, 2011

I love me some good science-fiction. I’ve always been a fan of the genre of movies, books, and any other piece of media I can get my hands on that promotes the idea of “what could be.” I generally can’t get enough of it. And when a good science-fiction story showcases plenty of great ideas for what the future could looks like, our future, then it’s even better. After all, many of our ideas that are used today came from some form of science-fiction or another. Recently I was shown an indie movie where there were still cell phones, but they weren’t exactly as we see them today. No, instead the phones were integrated into pretty much everything around us, or into articles of clothing we already wear. There were watch phones, yes, but the one thing that caught my eye were phones that were integrated into sunglasses and regular eyewear.

A couple of years ago, I remember seeing a concept artist’s idea of how the home would look in the year 2022, or some year close to that. Things would look pretty much the same, but there would be devices hidden in the guise of our everyday items. I distinctly remember seeing a photo frame that doubled as a means to do video chat with someone who was trying to enter your apartment. It is things like this that stand out to me. The idea of our future integrating our everyday devices with some of the most advanced technology we have today is a cool idea to me.

And that’s why these glasses-as-phones stood out to me. At first I didn’t even realize that that’s the idea they were running with. The first time a character used them, the glasses were just showing a head’s-up display, or HUD. The HUD was displaying all sorts of pertinent information about the character’s surroundings, and based on voice commands would bring up more detailed info about people or items if the character so desired. I thought the head’s-up display was great in of itself, but it only got better when the character received a phone call.

On the lens over the character’s left eye, a picture of a person popped up, with their name, address, and relationship to the person right next to the picture. Basically, it was the same information that some people might put into their normal Contact Cards on their phones, or into something like Google Contacts. With a simple one-word response to the call, the character was able to answer it and carry on a conversation with the person. There were very small headphones that were attached to the frame of the glasses, which made it possible to have a private conversation while the character was walking around.

There are glasses out there that have Bluetooth capabilities, and headphones that drop down from the frame to promote conversation. But, these glasses are bulky, noticeable, and obviously don’t promote any type of head’s-up display. We’ve seen that through Bluetooth technology that a lot of these futuristic ideas are possible right now, but we don’t have the means to make them as thin or unobtrusive as we’d like right now. In the future, sure. But, after seeing the glasses-phone in action, I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to get my hands on it right now.

This got me thinking about whether or not the masses would like something like this. After all, we love our phones. For some people, holding onto their phone is one of their most important parts of the day. Some folks even consider it a fashion statement. But, if phones were integrated into things like our glasses, then it would just be a tool. Plus, reading text messages may be a pain from a pair of glasses. But, what say you? Would you be willing to wear glasses that doubled as your phone, all the time? Let me know in the comments below.