Google Glass launched to much promise in 2013 and was pulled after a few stumbling blocks. Apart from functional problems and questionable activity on the part of some users (remember Glassholes?), the specs weren’t … stylish.
But we are now awash in a new wave of smart glasses. Three household-name electronics and technology companies—Intel, Toshiba, and Samsung—are releasing beyond-vision eyewear that might give us all superpowers.
Intel is going for geek chic. Its pair, still in development, connect through Bluetooth with a smartphone app. The Toshiba glasses target the enterprise market—they interface with a Toshiba dynaEdge Mini PC—and can be worn atop a normal pair of prescription specs for hands-free access to documents, alerts, and video chat.
Then there are designs for specific uses. Samsung is aiming for accessibility—the company has developed its Relúmĭno pair for those with vision disabilities. Images adapted for vision impairments are displayed on the lens. Startup Smith Optics has the Lowdown Focus, a pair that aims to help wearers improve their concentration by measuring five different types of brain activity, including when the wearer is focusing intently. Vue offers a pair that works as an activity tracker, earphones, and a phone.
Maybe the biggest surprise of all is that these next-gen smart specs look like your standard issue hipster-nerd-librarian glasses that wouldn’t be out of place in a Warby Parker store. You might want to wear them. In public, even.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission made the contentious move to end net neutrality—the requirement that internet providers treat all network traffic equally. Meanwhile, many rural and low-income areas lack broadband access. One response: BYO. As in, Build Your Own.
There’s been an increase in hyper-local community internet networks. Over 750 rural communities have already built them. In San Francisco, a panel is studying the feasibility of an open-access citywide fiber-optic network that would guarantee net neutrality. The Los Angeles Community Broadband Project wants to create a community-owned, inexpensive ISP for the city’s residents. And New York City has NYC Mesh. The web might be worldwide, but the digital divide might be solved in your backyard.
Video game reviewer Daniel Middleton reportedly made just shy of US$17 million in 2017. Instagram influencer Negin Mirsalehi reportedly earns $20,000 per post. Baker Rosanna Pansino, of the YouTube channel Nerdy Nummies, pulls in about $6 million a year.
Those numbers have put Daffy Duck–style dollar signs in many a social media hopeful’s eyes. But looking at some harder numbers shows that most people who try to strike it big on social media are more likely to suffer than to achieve stardom.
Research recently published in the journal Convergence: The International Journal into New Media Technologies found that making bank off YouTube is a vanishing prospect. Just 3% of YouTube channels account for 85% of views, and most of these deliver less than $17,000 a year in advertising revenue. Don’t quit your day job. D!