An Expert’s View on Google’s Goggles - Technology Review
I asked Mark Changizi, an evolutionary neurobiologist and author of The Vision Revolution, to answer some of these questions in an audio commentary track on the video, which you can watch above.
“The graphics are not going to look like they’re floating out in front of you, because it’s only being displayed to one eye,” Changizi explains. Instead, the experience would be similar to “seeing through” the image of your own nose, which hovers semi-transparently in the periphery of our visual field at all times (even though we rarely pay attention to it). “Having non-corresponding images coming from each eye is actually something we are very much used to already,” Changizi says. “It’s not uncomfortable.” So Google’s one-eyed screen design seems biologically savvy.
Then again, Changizi continues, “they’re presenting text to you, and in order to discern that kind of detail, you need to have it in front of your fovea”—the tiny, central part of your visual field. “That’s typically *not* where we’re used to ‘seeing through’ parts of our own bodies, like our noses.” Which means that those crisp, instant-message-like alerts won’t be as simple to render as the video makes it seem.
“The more natural place to put [these interface elements], especially if it’s not text, is in the parts of your visual field where your face-parts already are,” Changizi says. This could be in the left and right periphery, where the ghost-image of your nose resides, or in the upper or bottom edges of your visual field, where you can see your cheeks when you smile or your brow when you frown. “There could be very broad geometrical or textural patterns that you could perceive vividly without having to literally ‘look at’ them,” he says.