Google Glass and Samsung might be looking to enhance your day to day job and living with glasses featuring a heads up display, but it doesn’t do much for your emotional state. If you’re work requires that you remain pleasant and professional at all times – conveying such emotion through your eyes – their offerings won’t do much to lighten the load. However AgencyGlass, a product from Hirotaka Osawa, from Tsukuba University in Japan, is designed to do just that, by giving you digital eyes.
“I developed a robotic device called AgencyGlass to extend our social skills and to decrease our emotional labor,” Osawa said in a video entitled, “Wearable Eyes Turn You Into Emotional Cyborg,” which makes the product sound very, very strange. But even that title can’t prepare you for the oddness that is the actual thing.
According to Osawa, while technology has helped us improve our physical strength and mental capacity, it hasn’t been developed to help improve our emotional state, until now.
AgencyGlass is a pair of glasses, that hides your real eyes, whilst providing a narrow view so you can still see what’s in-front of you and can continue life as normal. However on the front of the glasses are a pair of displays, that show a digital representation of your eyes, using sensors like a microphone, grycoscope and accelerometer, to judge what sort of emotion to convey. The idea is, that this not only makes sure you are always showing the optimal emotional response to outside stimulus, but that you don’t have to think about it. In Osawa’s mind, that frees up cognitive power for other tasks.
As the video explains, it could even allow you to have a nap without anyone finding out.
The glasses will do more than make you look “normal” to onlookers though. They can also track other people – if you wear a separate camera in your shirt pocket – and have the eyes respond to them, tracking them across a room. In theory this sounds like a good idea, but in practice must surely lead to your already creepy too-far-forward eyes staring at people as they walk around – while you may have no idea that person is even there.
In all fairness to Osawa, the eyes do behave quite naturally when he has the glasses on and it’s an interesting piece of tech that could perhaps be used to make robots appear more natural, however for humans, it seems like a horrible idea. It’s said to be a good tool for those with emotional jobs, like nurses, or those in sales, who have to maintain a calm disposition, but it seems likely that most people would prefer a pair of tired, angry eyes instead of ones that are quite obviously fake.
It’s not like you can’t tell they’re wearing the glasses, so why would you trust what you can(‘t) see?[Thanks CNET]