In the early 2010s, giddy from the growth of fitness upstarts like Fitbit and burgeoning smartwatch brands like Pebble, many of us in the tech space felt wearables’ meteoric ascendence was pretty much inevitable. A new dawn was coming that would untether us from our phones: a wave of smart contact lenses, gesture-tracking bracelets and voice-chat earrings would mean we’d soon be able to kiss those pocket-hogging bricks goodbye.
Then came Google Glass. Ludicrous as it seems now, a lot of us bought into the hype. Hard. When you’re a giant manchild, raised on a diet of sci-fi films and FPS gaming, very little seems cooler than your own heads-up display. With Google putting its R&D heft behind AR glasses, this dream felt like it was nearing reality. And the case for it seemed obvious: directions displayed in your field of vision meant getting lost would be no more, while the ability to overlay info over the things we saw would add a whole new contextual depth to the real world.
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