Here comes “virtual wearables”


I’m always telling people, “look, people: Everyone is going to want to wear augmented reality glasses all day, every day, and one day augmented reality glasses will replace the smartphone as the main device we rely on.”

And people tell me: “You’re nuts.”  

The reason the public doesn’t accept this future is that they understand the “costs” of wearing augmented reality glasses — expensive, inconvenient, potentially bulky and, above all, socially unacceptable — but they don’t understand the benefits.  

Which is to say they haven’t experienced what it feels like to augment reality in a seamless way, which is possible only through glasses. Once people experience great augmented reality, I think they’re going to want it. 

This video, tweeted by Magic Leap designer Keiichi Matsuda, demonstrates one of many new concepts coming for augmented reality. 

Which is this: Once you have augmented reality wearables, all other wearables can be virtual.  

In this case, a flick-of-the-wrist gesture brings up a pop-out menu that pops out from your actual hand. 

You could also imagine wristwatches and countless other “devices” that appear to be connected to the self. 

Mixed-reality startup Magic Leap is even developing an open source reference platform called “North Star,” which enables developers to build virtual wearables for Magic Leap’s platform. The “North Star” feature that enables this is called “Power Hands,” for which Magic Leap built an app called “Virtual Wearables.”

If done right, this will be very intuitive. One obvious application is that you check the time on your watch as always. Except the checking-the-time gesture actually produces a virtual watch on your wrist displaying the current time.  

What other “virtual wearable” applications can you imagine?