For the most part, the articles posted here are supposed to point out Future Things that get passing mention in the books. This time, I’m going to talk about something that will be getting left out of the books entirely.
That link will take you to an article that claims augmented reality glasses are at least 20 years away, but it also provides a good glimpse into what augmented reality glasses are. If you’re any kind of a fan of Hathor, you’ll probably find yourself scoffing at some of his objections, too. But, of course, Hathor’s fiction.
Still. If you’re not familiar with the phrase, augmented reality glasses are eyeglasses that project a heads-up display in your field of view that’s contextually appropriate to your environment. Common examples include, for instance, looking at a restaurant and getting access to its menu, or looking at any storefront and seeing its address and phone number, its hours, details about its corporate parent or the neighborhood or customer reviews….
Sound familiar? In the books, that’s the sort of information you get with the phrase, “Details to my handheld.” But, y’know, then you have to look at your handheld.
One of my favorite aspects of the first book’s cover art was its ability to capture the artifacts of the Hathor system — the headset and handheld, the Hippocrates watch, and even Katie’s identity-lock handgun. Dreaming up those artifacts was pretty central to dreaming up the everyday experience of living in Hathor.
And when I was dreaming them up, I was very aware of augmented reality glasses. I spent several weeks thinking about how they’d work, where they’d find their power and how they’d refine their location details and how they’d handle their processing (all issues referenced in that article I linked above).
I spent a lot of time researching, and a lot of time imagining, and in the end I decided to leave them out of Katie’s future for one simple, fairly obvious reason:
They would look stupid in the movie.
What can I say? I’m a practical fella at heart. So every time Katie has to look at her handheld, scroll through pages and pages of casefiles, and type out her comments on that tiny screen, you can know that’s a punishment I doomed her to for totally superficial reasons.