Smart glasses could become very smart indeed

July 24, 2013
What are most people more interested in than anything else?
John Wallace 720

What are most people more interested in than anything else? Other people, of course. At meetings, at family dinners, in line at the supermarket, we all spend a good part of our time studying (surreptitiously or not) other people's faces; we're wired that way. From the subtlest facial movements, we try to divine one another's thoughts.

And now we have smart glasses to help us. Do you want to know if the person you are talking to is getting a bit uncomfortable, perhaps due to the fact that he or she is spinning a story rather than telling the truth? Maybe someday, your smart glasses will tell you if that person's face is subtly flushing (see

And maybe imaging-based studies of people's faces as they undergo certain emotions, or think certain thoughts, will someday result in software models that we can load into our glasses as apps. Is that person's attention straying? Is your dinner date thinking of someone else instead of you? Did your poker buddy just get a straight? (Or perhaps a flush?) Your app will tell you.

MIT image-processing software can already extract the heartbeat rate of someone wearing a Guy Fawkes mask (the mask that the hacktivist group Anonymous made famous) (see In the future, every little bodily motion may be analyzable. Perhaps someday we'll undergo special training classes to help us learn to hide our twitches, squints, and wiggles, in the ever-intensifying search for privacy.

About the Author

John Wallace | Senior Technical Editor (1998-2022)

John Wallace was with Laser Focus World for nearly 25 years, retiring in late June 2022. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Rutgers University and a master's in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Before becoming an editor, John worked as an engineer at RCA, Exxon, Eastman Kodak, and GCA Corporation.

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