Valve Working on Wearable Computer Tech
Rumors that Valve’s been working on a games console—the so-called “Steam Box”—have been swirling around the internet for the past few weeks. But in response to that speculation, it seems that one of Valve’s programmers, Michael Abrash, has started to reveal what all the hub-bub’s been about: wearable computers.
“The logical endpoint is computing everywhere, all the time—that is, wearable computing—and I have no doubt that 20 years from now that will be standard, probably through glasses or contacts, but for all I know through some kind of more direct neural connection. And I’m pretty confident that platform shift will happen a lot sooner than 20 years—almost certainly within 10, but quite likely as little as 3-5, because the key areas—input, processing/power/size, and output—that need to evolve to enable wearable computing are shaping up nicely, although there’s a lot still to be figured out.”
Abrash also makes a point to explain that the project is basically in the research and development stages, and that there’s no actual new toy that’s getting ready for retail: “it doesn’t in any way involve a product at this point, and won’t for a long while, if ever—so please, no rumors about Steam glasses being announced at E3.”
Abrash’s post seems to jibe with statements Valve boss Gabe Newell has made as recently as February, when he was interviewed by Penny-Arcade. Said Newell on what the company was exploring:
“…there’s a surprising amount going on with new – they used to be called wearable computing before those all got kind of set on fire by losing investment firms hundreds of millions of dollars, so nobody wants to call them wearable computing, but they sort of look like the old wearable computing solutions, the difference being that they’re way higher resolution, way lighter weight, much better battery life, and things like that. It seems like just about the time that everybody gave up on them they actually started to become interesting, so we’ve been seeing a lot of stuff go on in that space that gets us excited. We’re trying to get our–the experiments we’ve been doing in–you know we did a ton of work on biofeedback, on biometrics, and that’ll, you know, from our point of view we were like ‘okay, this is all sort of proven out’ and we’re just sort of scratching our heads trying to figure out the best way to get that hardware out to customers without something where we’d just say ‘okay, this works.’ it’s not a question of whether or not this is going to be useful for customers, whether or not it’s going to be useful for content developers, you know, it’s figuring out the best way we can get these into people’s hands.”
And, of course, all of this comes relatively hot on the heels of Google’s own Project Glass announcement, in which they’d like to turn us all into cyborgs.
If you thought people looked dumb with Bluetooth headsets perpetually in their ears, just get ready for the stupidity that we’ll be ushering in with INTERNET-GLASSES. Also, be prepared for even more people to get hit by cars while crossing the streets. Good times, everyone.