Wearable Tech Pioneer Predicts Google Glass Future

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Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Georgia Tech Director of Contextual Computing Group Thad Starner discusses wearable computing and Google Glass technology on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West." (Source: Bloomberg)

You're watching bloomberg west.

I am emily chang with our top headlines.

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Nintendo is forecasting a $240 million loss for this year.

All week long we have had a very interesting series about artificial intelligence beyond robots.

I certainly learned a lot.

I am so excited about this next guest.

This is a guy who is basically wearing wireless glasses 20 years before google glass actually came out.

He is a georgia tech professor.

He is joining us now from our bureau san francisco.

Of you are wearing them.

This is a prescription pair of glasses but i brought my old stuff.

Tell us about how that first version of glasses came to be in 1993. we didn't have a name for it.

The name for personal computer was always taken test was already taken.

We came up with wearable computing.

This is something called reflection technology display.

This is actually the fashionable version of it back then.

It is a little mirror that scans across your eye and creates the illusion of an image.

Can you actually see when you are wearing those?

It blocks one i but the human that it blocks one -- it blocks one eye.

You have been doing a lot of work with google.

It is a fascinating story of how you ultimately ended up at google, because you ran into larry amsurg a in the 90s while you were wearing these glasses -- larry and sir j -- and sire rgei in the 90s while you are wearing those glasses.

I have a quote from an e-mail -- demo when you wear something like this and have a big shoulder bag on with a big computer in it and these old car cell phones that wade two pounds , you get some attention.

You have this device over your shoulder.

It was a little conference in san jose.

I was just waiting at the coffee line.

These two sanford students came up to me and said they would like to talk about my computer.

They told me about this new service they are talking about called google.

It is just grad students talking to each other.

About 2010, after it was clear, the smartphone thing was taking off.

I sent sir j -- i sent sergei an e-mail.

Next thing i knew i was out there working on glass.

They were going to do it wearable computer.

Family having worked on this -- having worked on this for 20 years, what has gotten so much better?

, processing power has gone up exponentially.

What are some of the next major breakthroughs that are going to facilitate the next generation of the things you are working on?

A lot of that is going to be the intelligence.

Already there are services out there that can predict the traffic from one appointment to the next.

Glass was telling me about photo spots nearby.

We actually suggest ideas and it's just -- that is where we are going with this.

The idea we can actually make a computer that lives your life with you, that observes what you are doing with your hands, they learn what it means to be human on human terms.

That is why i call it symbiosis.

I want to ask you one other question based on the point you were making.

The technology may be closer to do some of the things you are describing.

Are we ready for that kind of relationship between technology and ourselves?

I would argue we are ready for a long time.

They always have an assistant with them who helps makes their interviews and interactions -- if you have a good conversation going on the assistant will allow the ceo to have more time and rearrange the rest of the schedule.

It's kind of like having a really intelligent butler.

That assistant is himself being trained to be a ceo of another major company.

Wouldn't it be great if it could have those good english but will -- english learner experiences.

-- english butler experiences.

Do you wear google glass everyday?

I do.

This is my best prescription of glasses right now.

You are fascinated by this technology and have been for decades.

Not everybody is wet -- not everybody is ready to where google glass everyday.

Wearables are mainstream, look at the mp3 players.

Our member being offered $2 million in 1995 as part of a startup doing it wearable computer.

We predicted these mp3 players and now it is ubiquitous.

Most of the things we are talking about has been taken over by smartphones.

Smartphones are not as fluid.

They take too much time to interact with it.

I think people are already using wearable computers, bluetooth headsets, smart phones, mp3 players.

This is just an evolution in progress.

Not everybody is wearing them yet.

I one point are people going to get comfortable with wearing something like that everyday?

Is it going to be a risk, is it going to be us talking earlier about implantable devices?

Not everybody wants to wear those everyday.

It is just like smartphones.

Everybody was using mp3 players every day.

It takes time for these to reach critical mass.

In truth what we are going to see is a relationship of devices about the body from where the hands are in this -- are and the eyes.

You mentioned you have some examples of future applications for artificial intelligence.

We are going to talk about that more after this break.

He came up with wireless glasses to decade before google glass.

Will come back to our special series.

We are talking with the technical lead of google glass.

At georgia tech you were look -- you are working on a number of different areas.

You gave up some and shall rush some interesting attentional applications.

-- some interesting applications.

Talk about some of the areas you are focused on.

A lot of times we are doing stuff for five or 10 years ahead of industry.

We are making a lot of progress recently.

What i have been looking at is trying to have a machine that watches your life as you live it.

One of the things we were doing is watching your hands.

Can we walk -- can we learn around the world around you by watching how you interact with it.

That is what this helmet is for.

This is a system that you may have a picture of.

The idea is you put this on and you can do sign language.

The system automatically discovers the signs in the language.

Instead of trading them -- training them to learn one language after another, they automatically discover the individual signs and words of the language.

My colleague made a starting idea -- a startling idea.

If you are trying to recognize the objects around you, something like a book, it is hard to recognize books because each cover is different and it can be any image on the cover that you can think of.

It is hard to recognize a book just from one camera image.

If if you look at somebody -- if you look at somebody paging through a book, suddenly you can recognize a book by how it is being used.

That was a startling moment for me.

I can identify books, cups, shaking hands with somebody, i can learn about the world around me, how to use a doorknob, a car door, cartoonish and, how you shift the car, -- car door, ignition, how you shift the car.

My colleague went further.

He said if i put motion sensors on my wrists and elbows, maybe i can interact with things normally in my daily life and teach a humanoid robot how to move.

In other words we can use in everyday motion to train the motion equation of how to move and interact with the real world.

You are talking about putting sensors around and on the human body.

They have to be very small and lightweight for them to function successfully as wearable technology.

What i want to ask you about is about power and batteries.

That has always been something that has not moved quite at the same pace as other technologies.

How do you solve powering all these devices on your body?

It is the current technology holding you back?

A lot of things we are seeing is a revolution there as well.

There are a couple of ways you can go about this.

One is using the human body motion the power it.

If i'm putting an accelerometer or microphone on the wrist and tried to pick up the sounds and direct with the doorknob, the actual motion an actual sound itself may be powered by the circuits in a nothing you can do is use rfid.

A friend of mine is moving to the university of washington.

He has made a system by which you can get a megabit per second of ada off of passive rfid chips.

We just create a power field and then it sends the data back to our main system.

We're are talking very small amounts of field here.

Technology professor of computing and technical lead of google glass.

We will be watching you from afar.

Here's a look of at what is coming up on tuesday.

He just started a new company called jelly.

We will learn all about it right here on bloomberg west.

Up next we will play with cars.

We have been talking about artificial intelligence and robotics.

I got to play with a new toy car set that will blow your mind.

I can't wait.

Pamela comeback.

I feel like we have been talking about ai as something in the future.

It is actually here.

When you think about ai, it is not going to be some special day where we have it.

It is incremental.

We see it in things like toys.

I got a chance to play with this new toy, it is called onki drive.

Let's take a look at it.

Most of the time when we are talking about robots and artificial intelligence, we tend to think about robots in the workplace.

What we are not usually talking about our little toy cars.

That is exactly what a new toy is all about.

Developed by engineers out of carnegie mellon, it looks like one of those radio car sets you would play when the cosby show is coming on.

Sure your smart phone can work as a wireless steering wheel.

What is even more interesting is that same smartphone controls all the other cars on the track.

It they know where they are and where you are and are adapting to real time each race is different.

We have seen this artificial intelligence in videogames.

On d takes all of that and brings it into the physical world.

Not only can you outrun your opponents, you can hold on a button and fire and match very weapons at them.

All of this innovation is very impressive what it is not is cheap.

A startup kit will run you $200. you get a track and two cars.

More cars run $70 per pop.

M it only works that should it only works -- it only works on a ios devices right now.

Cars will use up their battery after 20 minutes of play.

But robotics, the future is here, the future is now, the future is kind of expensive.

I got to play that game.

It is super fun.

It definitely makes you want -- a supersmart group of founders behind his company.

I got a chance to talk with these guys a little bit.

They said there's a lot of people focusing on industry, focusing on commerce.

We wanted to find a place where there isn't as much attention and competition.

Toys was a way to be out there by themselves.

This whole discussion has made me think about -- we know there is engineers and programmers in the technology community that need to learn how to code to fill these jobs.

And if computers are going to become more and more sophisticated, they are going to be able to answer more compex questions than they do now.

Somewhere down the line, are these coders going to be out of work?

Computers coding for other computers and where does that leave -- will we be floating around, sucking on a big gulp?

The venture capitalist has been on a tweeting binge.

He tweeted about this, saying if you are worried about robots you should maybe stop programming students as if they are robots.

What you think he means?

, absolutely no idea.

It makes you think about down the line, the relationship between humans and computers, what is it ? it cannot be about science and technology and economics and math.

It has to be that deep creativity, that artistic or actually artistic impulse -- impulse that drives the implied sciences.

He talks about how his glassblowing -- i do want to get to what is coming up on tuesday.

Bill gates is going to be joining in the loop for a special conversation with mike bloomberg and betty liu.

This will be coming on a day that he releases his annual letter.

So great to be with you.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.

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