It seems that whenever a well-heeled backer announces a new technological innovation, the hype machine goes into overdrive, proclaiming it the best thing since sliced bread. Speculation runs rampant as pundits ponder the many uses these new devices will enable, and the life-improving results they are sure to achieve. Often, however, today’s hype is tomorrow’s history.

For example, following its launch to much fanfare a couple of years ago, Google seems to have given up on the current incarnation of its Glass concept. Instead of technical specs and awesome Glass-friendly apps for sale, its official page proclaims, “Thanks for exploring with us, the journey doesn’t end here.”

The journey may not have ended, but it certainly seems to have pulled over at a rest area for a little nap, with the company putting its prototype on hold earlier this year.

That journey included a headlong foray into fornication, with MiKandi and XBIZ collaborating on a porn video featuring James Deen and Andy San Dimas that reportedly garnered more than a million views in its first 24 hours. In addition, MiKandi and others released adult oriented Glass apps, while XBIZ released a Glass-optimized version of its flagship site, demonstrating adult’s clear interest in this carnal combo.

While some observers outside of the industry, such as Los Angeles Times writer Patt Morrison, were quick to characterize the marriage of Google Glass and porn as “unstoppable,” an XBIZ survey of adult industry professionals in the summer of 2013 revealed that 51 percent of respondents believed that it was too early to tell the future of Google Glass. A further 35 percent believed that the device was hype — with only 13 percent of respondents declaring the device “not hype.”

Two years later, there is little news about this technology, which some hoped would change the world — but the world is changing, and with it, the uses of Glass-like tech — pointing to a bright future for a seemingly forgotten platform.

Beyond the promise of Google Glass itself, I believe there is a significant future for what I like to refer to as “enhanced vision systems” (EVS). Some popular examples sparked by the creative imaginations of science fiction writers include The Terminator’s ability to pull up device schematics and data on demand, and the visor worn by Geordi La Forge in the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” series.

Bringing EVS to the rapidly rising consumer drone market to display flight telemetry and a live view of what the drone is seeing, sounds like a popular Christmas gift for the future, while more down to earth is Amazon’s new Google Glass clone for its warehouse workers, which will revolutionize shipping and stocking practices.

In the near term, the engineering, industrial, and medical applications of such technology should surpass the consumer applications by a long shot. For example, imagine a surgeon being able to pull up X-ray or other images, as well as step-by-step instructions for complex procedures along with live tips from more experienced surgeons in remote locations; or consider the life-saving potential of firefighters in a smoke filled environment being able to see a burning building’s floor plan as they navigate through it.

It is a military application, however, which will eventually trickle down into a consumer device that has me personally intrigued (and a likely customer), and which directly led to my questioning the current state of Google Glass.

The U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center is currently working on a new dive mask for use by Navy SEALs, having already produced a number of full-face prototypes that display a range of classified mission data, navigational tools, and system status updates. Characterized by project engineer Dennis Gallagher as “disruptive technology” and “a game-changer,” even with its secret James Bond features removed, such a sophisticated device would be a boon to both commercial and recreational SCUBA divers, and is sure to drive considerable consumer interest — including my own. Of course, I may be too old to dive in the 20 years or so before such a device might hit the consumer marketplace, but it is a practical example of the technology’s fruition and long-term viability.

Rather than a “what-if” prototype, such as Google Glass, which intended to test the waters, the Navy is going into the waters with a definite and practical use for EVS technology.

This brings me back to my original question: Does Google Glass have a future, or have we already seen the end of the future of Google Glass? While it may still be too early to predict the fate of one particular device or another, the increasing demand for more data — and more accessible displays of that data — are as clear as glass, and will drive the long predicted world-changing impact of Google Glass, its siblings, and its descendents. It is a future that I am eager to see, and yes, porn may still play a role in it yet.

Good reads

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