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Jim Lee: Glasses may lead to early termination

Given that the average person can't handle walking and talking on the cellphone at the same time, I think it is a little premature for Google to unleash the next wave of technology, glasses that allow you to view maps - or God knows what else - effectively putting a miniature computer screen in front of your eye.

Think Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Terminator movies.

Google posted a video and information about "Project Glass" on its Google-Plus website last week. It asked visitors to check out the video and offer their thoughts and suggestions on the potential of this product.

My first thought was about the woman at the mall a few weeks back who walked out the door, across the sidewalk and directly into the path of vehicles - including mine - on the road. She wasn't in a crosswalk, but she looked neither right nor left as her eyes remained glued to the cell phone in her hand and she concentrated on pushing the right buttons to apparently text her friend about the great deal she had just found.

Pedestrians with iPods and plugs in their ears, along with inattentive cellphone users have become a major problem, especially in more urban areas. The rate of accidents has increased significantly in recent years.

That thought was echoed by at least one commenter on the Google website. Someone logged in as Jason Death wrote, "Don't we have enough people walking into things already? And how long till laws are made about having these in vehicles? How will it affect a person's vision having a screen so close? So many problems will be had by all."

The glasses aren't really glasses. In this prototype version they consist of a band that wraps around the forehead. A tiny viewfinder is positioned just above one eye. The contraption looks a little like empty glasses frames which rest on nose pads to help keep the thing in place.

That brings up the question, posed by more than a few commenters on Google's site, about whether there will be a version that attaches to regular glasses frames for people who wear glasses.

I would take that a step further. I wonder if it comes in a bifocal version. Lots of us older folks have trouble seeing things close up. I'd hate to have to take off my glasses and hold them at arm's length just to see what was on that tiny screen.

But the older generation could benefit from this product in other ways. One person posting on the Google website noted he was a musician and he sometimes forgot the lyrics. Having them scroll in front of your eye would be helpful. And President Barack Obama could finally shake free of all those critics who complain about him using a teleprompter all the time.

First responders and emergency workers would also likely benefit greatly from this new technology. That was also noted among the posts on the Google site.

Still, I think the downside would far outweigh the benefits. You just know that most of the people who use them will be checking their Facebook page or emails. Worse, some will probably be watching the latest episode of their favorite reality show. In any case, they will be totally oblivious to their surroundings. The ones that do this while walking will be dangerous enough, but more than a few will be using this device for these pointless endeavors while attempting to drive, something they already have trouble doing with just their cellphone.

Given the number of folks who are likely to be putting their lives and the lives of others in jeopardy, I guess the Terminator references are rather apt.

They will be enhancing the chance of their life getting terminated much earlier than if they didn't have the glasses.

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