iLids Creep Me Out

Another Possible Product Review by TBD Insider.

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Photo compliments of Bradley Hook

Ok, post-millennials, you’ve gone too far. I know, I know. I’m a throwback, born long before 2000. Sure, my parents thought we were going to get ourselves killed walking while staring down at our smartphones. So we had our stupid things, too. But for the love of god don’t tell me for the thousandth time, “At least we can see where we’re walking.” Yeah, I get it…if you can seriously call what you do seeing.

I still remember when I saw my kids’ actual eyeballs for what seems like the last time — except at the dinner table (that’s a rule…no VR when we’re eating together). It was when Apple came out with continuous long-range wireless charging (CLRC) and took a trick from Snap’s now-long-defunct “Spectacles”. When they added high-def cameras to a full VR headset that never needed to be taken off to charge a bulky battery, that was it. No need anymore for impossibly difficult optical magic to make augmented reality a thing.

Yeah, remember the AR/VR debates? Do you even remember back when anyone talked about Augmented Reality?

Turns out all we needed was a new generation of kids who happily donned their VR gear, which still looks to me like an old-timey headband from the 1970s that slipped down over the face, and took their last look at an unprocessed visual world.

It was so weird at first, watching people walking around blindfolded. But now — I know—it’s the new normal. Still, I flinch when a runner flies past with that shit on his face. Somewhere deep inside my antiquated brainpan, I assume no eyes means no sight.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my VR gear now, too. I’m writing this while sitting on my gorgeous porch overlooking Port Louis, Mauritius — or what to the unvirtual eye would be a brick wall in my 350 square foot NY apartment. What sold me was when Magic Leap released RealKit. Procedural transmutation (PT) of the video from the front, rear and side cameras into virtual scenes was what I was waiting for. I like that my gorgeous porch in Mauritius procedurally turns the footstool in front of my apartment’s one lounge chair into an appropriately indigenous rock formation, so I don’t trip over it. It’s true…don’t really need to take these things off anymore. And my kids are right. There’s less radiation coming off the low-power super-thin screens than my eyes would be taking from the sun.

Yeah, it’s super cool to stare straight at the sun and have it PT’d into a 3d model displaying all the current solar flares in real time.

Anyway, this takes me to the latest competitor to challenge Apple’s hammer-lock on VR gear. But c’mon…iLids? Really? First, Apple forgot to protect a word with an “i” on it? Wow. But seriously, what were you thinking? How was putting a super-thin, curved display screen across the front of a VR headset a good idea? I mean, ok — in a world where people ever took their VR gear off (except at dinner, of course) maybe it would be cool to see a pair of animated virtual eyeballs painted across the front of someone’s headset. Maybe then my brain wouldn’t freak out at that runner zipping by with his headset on. (Brain probably doesn’t care if the eyes are real or fake.) But who takes their gear off anymore? And if they don’t take it off, then the PT algorithm is just going to display the transmuted people as their avatars anyway. So most people won’t even notice this super cool feature…ever!

Yep. Totally stupid, unnecessary feature on an otherwise pretty basic, commodity hardware stack.

So…why do both of my kids want iLids?

This story is fiction, based on our fevered imagination of products and services that could be delivered to market based on current and emerging know-how — given sufficient resource and intent. Any resemblance to real products, either released or planned, is coincidental.

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