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'Smart' Glasses Skew Power Balance with Non-Wearers

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images projected onto the frames of a wearer's glasses

Researchers studied interactions between wearers of AR glasses and others.

Credit: Bühler Leybold Optics

Researchers at Cornell and Brown universities found that wearers of augmented reality or smart glasses hold certain advantages, according to non-wearers.

The researchers watched five wearer/non-wearer pairs discussing a desert survival exercise while wearers used social media company Snap's prototype Spectacles smart glasses, which feature a video camera and filters that transformed non-wearers into deer, cats, bears, clowns, or pig-bunnies. The wearers said the filters alleviated their anxiety while the non-wearers said they felt disempowered because they did not know what the wearers were seeing, and the lack of control over their own appearance upset them, according to the researchers' report.

Another concern was the possibility that the wearers were secretly recording the non-wearers without permission. The researchers also noted that the smart glasses' darkened lenses lessened the quality of social interaction.

Participants suggested smart glasses designers allow people nearby to know what wearers are seeing and recording by adding projection displays and recording indicator lights.

From Cornell Chronicle
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