Trying to sift fiction from fact is a job that becomes an almost daily ritual when reporting within the tech world. Speculation will start off relatively slow-burning, hit a crescendo of wild rumours and obvious fabrications at its height, and begin to tail off, just as the cycle starts once again. But game company Valve has chosen to put an end to the fervent rumours circulating all over the net about what many deemed to be its own home console – rivalling the next-gen Xbox, PlayStation and the Wii U – and capitalising on its grasp on the digital market with Steam, with a piece of hardware that can only be described as a 'wearable computer'.
Not appearing too dissimilar to Google's recently-outed 'Project Glass' – or indeed the T-800's heads-up display – Valve employee, tech developer Michael Abrash, has revealed in a blog post on Valve's official site, entitled 'How I Got Here, What It’s Like, and What I’m Doing', the origins and current development stage of a piece of technology that wouldn't look too out of place in the developer's-own Portal 2: wearable computing. “By 'wearable computing' I mean mobile computing where both computer-generated graphics and the real world are seamlessly overlaid in your view,” he describes. “There is no separate display that you hold in your hands (think Terminator vision).”
“The underlying trend as we've gone from desktops through laptops and notebooks to tablets is one of having computing available in more places, more of the time. 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.”
Something that once felt such an 'out-there' concept that science-fiction toyed with the idea in fairly fun ways, Abrash's detailing of the project he has come to work on after a history at id Software, Microsoft and now Valve is quite astonishing. What's more, he has high hopes the tech will make its way into the public eye sooner rather than later. “I'm pretty confident [the platform shift] will happen a lot sooner than 20 years time – 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...” Although Abrash stresses the project is still in the very early stages of research and development - “so please, no rumors about Steam glasses being announced at E3” he forces home – the fact two of the most influential and powerful tech companies are working hard to make such glasses a reality is really quite alluring.