Picking products for any technology launch event requires the ability to balance the news value of a product against evidence that the product, company or technology can be successful.
But when it comes to wearable computing devices that incorporate augmented reality visualization hardware, a third skill is needed: a basic understanding of motor vehicle laws that prohibit the use of any device with screen displays, which causes a driver to take their eyes off the road.
Two cases in point: Google Glass and the Skully augmented reality motorcycle helmet. Both of these devices have innate sex appeal and both are equally illegal to use when the wearer is driving a motor vehicle and the devices are active. one of Google’s Glass explorers was whizzing merrily on the I-15 freeway here in southern California near me when a California highway patrolman noticed them, pulled the driver over and issued a Distracted Driver citation.
the driver was given the ticket,and successfully fought it (reportedly with help from an attorney) because the Patrolmen couldn’t prove the device was turned on.
I was perplexed by the Skully helmet when I saw it introduced at a DeMO technology launch event in 2013. It nails the sex appeal category with it’s ability to display Google maps and other Android connectivity features. As someone who’s ridden motorcycles since I was 15, I thought It’s rear facing camera was a good idea, although I’m perfectly happy using the mirrors on my bike’s handlebars. but I was also appalled thast the product was developed without concern for distracted driver laws that carry fines and costs that can be as expensive as violations for impaired driving.
Augmented reality technology for motor vehicles can attract a lot of attention from auto buffs and auto writers. but it also has the potential to result in very serious accidents if it s users allow themselves to be so caught up in the technology experience that they become distracted
I can not imagine driving a bike and simultaneously looking at a heads-up display as I zip through traffic on my way to the beach.The technology is a clear violation of distracted driver laws if it’s turned on when a bike is in use.
Ultimately, making sure a product is legal to use as designed is equally important to investors and producers of events that launch such devices. Also, its as important for the developers of such products to know their markets as it is an event’s producers or talent scouts to know how a product an be effected by state or local laws.
glancing around today’s list of sexy wearable technologies, it’s hard not to question if Apple and other vendors of smart watches realize they are developing and marketing products that can lead directly to distracted driver violations and incidents.
For now I just swivel my head, and check my mirrors. Electronic maps? Well I have very good land navigation skills and If I need to, I can always ask for directions or boot up my cellphone while my three-wheeler Vespa is locked upright and I raise up to let the blood flow to my tingling buttocks.--Jim Forbes on May 6, 2015.