The Man of a Thousand Faces

Today in Is It The Future Now?: Human-focused video projection that can make a user look like almost anyone – or like nothing human at all.

As great as this is, I’d love to see a version that doesn’t require projection, but is based on augmented reality instead.  Virtually everyone has those Google Project Glass headsets that were proposed recently (or, y’know, something similar that isn’t owned by Google,) and each user can choose how they appear to other users by selecting a real-time overlay. Maybe something as simple as a different hair color, or different makeup.  Whiter teeth, smaller pores.   It would still have to be close to the user’s actual body —- I’d have to navigate a sidewalk when people appeared to be tall and skinny but were actually about six feet wide.  Still, people would have nearly as much creative control over their appearance as any virtual-world avatar.

Of course, there would probably be little to keep a user from looking different to each other user.  Perhaps it could be set up to display differently to different accounts.  You know Zach likes redheads, so you’re auburn to him; Steve likes them blonde, so you use pixels instead of peroxide.  Maybe you have it cast just the right lighting and shadow to imply you have better abs or stronger muscles than you do.  With a good projection, nobody would know until they touched you — and it’s not as if our culture welcomes touching.

What if they weren’t even a headset anymore?  What if they were contact lenses that ran on the body’s own electricity?  They never lose charge, they never need replaced, and if you never choose to take them out, you never see the world in any way but the way it’s projected to you.

Or maybe there’d be other glasses that could counteract it somehow.  But then you’d have to beat somebody up in an alleyway for six minutes.

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