Technology, Reliability, and Behavior

One of some topics I write in this blog is about technology and human development. As I wrote in an old post, I suppose that engineers and designers in the old days developed new technologies to improve the quality of life. But I often wonder if engineers and designers today still have the same goal; they often seem to develop a new gadget because they can do it whether it will make a better life or not. According to a Japanese internet article, a Japanese cellphone company has developed “translation glasses”. It looks like Google Glass, and according to the article, if the user looks at a text in a foreign language through the glasses, it shows translated text in the user’s first language. How helpful will it be?

First of all, I do not trust machine translation. For example, I used Google Translate to translate one paragraph from the article. It goes like this.

By slip a ring on the finger of a dedicated, another feature with this glasses, available to change the touch screen a variety of flat surface. Ring will convey the position information in the translation glasses, “touch” to make tags visible only to a person wearing glasses. Such as the search of the Internet will be possible with this.

I guess the translation glasses will work at an equivalent level. Does it make sense to you? Is this reliable? If I translate manually, it should be like below.

The glasses have another feature; the user can use various flat surfaces as touch screen by using a special ring on his/her finger. The ring conveys location information to the glasses, which enables the user to “touch” tags that only the user can see. The user can do an internet search and so on with this feature.

Well, this is still not very clear, but this is what the article actually says. In other words, I guess, the glasses project user interface on a flat surface which only the user can see, and the user can control it by touching the surface with a special ring on his/her finger. This feature raises another question. I wonder how the developers of this product thought of human behavior.

Since hands-free cellphones ware introduced, many people have experienced, in some degree, something like a funny beer TV commercial in which a guy assumes a beautiful girl is talking to him while she is actually talking on blue tooth device. If someone uses “invisible” user interface, doesn’t it look like victims of Just for Laughs Gags “blind test”?

OK, maybe I’m a little too skeptical now. But the point here is that designers should think of reliability and human behavior when developing new gadgets, or even whether the gadget will be needed or not in the first place. Am I too cynical?

October 1, 2013Permalink