The new ‘Google Glass’ project is highly anticipated by many people, but as some might be able to predict, the unique ‘augmented reality product’ will not be without its potential health risks, as an expert vision scientist reported to Forbes that the glasses could create eye strain and ‘visual confusion’ for wearers.
Sina Fateh, an ophthalmologist that holds the patents to over 30 ‘HUD’ (heads-up display) innovations, claims that the issues will stem from Google’s device not functioning correctly with the human brain, which faces difficulties in focusing to different images within each eye. He noted that the problems would be similar to those he has experienced when researching military pilots, who face potential ‘visual interference’, ‘binocular rivalry’, and ‘phoria’ due to their excessive use of HUDs.
Fateh summarised: “The problem is that you have two eyes and the brain hates seeing one image in front of one eye and nothing in front of the other.”
However, some people in the field have disagreed with Fateh’s opinion, as Eli Peli, a scientist at Harvard Medical School (USA) claimed: “Google Glass is supposed to be used for micro-use. You look up for a second or two. The interruption of binocular vision is so brief and so small that I don’t expect to see any changes in the phoria when it is used as it is intended.
“They [Google] approached me before they really got started because they knew that safety and comfort were going to be important parts of their project. All told, the results we see so far are encouraging. The head-mounted displays I have worked with prior to this one have been just that—displays where you could play videos or computer games. Glass is designed for interaction and communication, which is what people want. [It] has a more advanced design for safety and comfort than any of the previous head-mounted displays I’ve evaluated.”
Set to be released later this year, will Google Glass need to be packaged with a health warning? The fact that they will not be ‘emasculating’ like smartphones (in the recent words of Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin), should be enough to make some demographics ignore any additional labels…