Is technology dumbing down basic skills?
We are all affected by technology in the modern world. It is impossible not to experience some form of amazing tech on a day-to-day basis. It almost feels like there is some gadget, inventive app or incredible piece of design that makes every part of life that little bit easier. But do we rely on this tech too much these days? That is a matter of opinion, but what is truly astonishing is how people have adapted to the influx in modern technology. Not so long ago some people were completely perplexed by the idea of texting on their new mobile phone. But now they wouldn’t batter an eyelid if you asked them to upload a picture on a social media website and share it with all their friends. Witnessing a child so confidently navigating a tablet is an ever increasing sight, but one that is still no less surprising when they show you things you couldn’t do yourself.
So what are the next stages of this technological revolution? Where do the designers and engineers look to improve and simplify our lives?
Augmented glasses have been around for a couple of years now. Google released its “Google Glass” prototype in 2013, these are essentially a pair of “Smart” glasses that have an optical head-mounted display or (OHMD). Google wanted to create a mass market ubiquitous computer. Displaying information like a Smartphone but in a hands-free format, the wearer controls the device via voice command. It has the ability to display emails, take photos, provide satellite navigation, the list is endless.Although this particular example has been quietly relinquished earlier this year, the technology behind it is far from dead.
The car company Mini has seen the incredible potential behind this software and developed a product with its customers in mind. With the might of BMW research and development backing the project, the developers have created a prototype for what they call “Mini augmented vision”. Similar to a concept showcased by Jaguar Land Rover in 2014, these glasses let you see through the bodywork of your car and reveal what would have been impossible to see without them.
Mini states that this tech aims to improve road safety by eliminating blind spots, monitoring speed limits, helping with step-by-step navigation and even aids in parking. With the number of cars on the road to increase to 1.7 billion by 2035 (that’s 310 cars per 1000 people, compared to 40 per 1000 people in 2010) drivers are going to need the extra help. But with this, will people eventually lose the ability to drive without these aids? And is this just another step towards fully automated vehicles? Only time will tell, but as a ‘someone’ who enjoys the act of driving I certainly hope not.