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Forgot where you Left Your Car Keys? - Smart Glasses Can Help!

How many times have you been detained for a meeting because you are in a hurry to leave but cannot find your wallet and your keys?? Or remember the times when everyone's settled in the car and you suddenly figure out that you've forgotten your keys inside and can't remember where you left them? yeah, sounds familiar, right!! Misplacing something is bad, and forgetting where you kept it last is even worse! Ltckily for people like these suffering from "short-term amnesia", frustrating incidents like these may finally have found a cure. Japanese scientists have invented a pair of intelligent glasses, or rather "Smart Goggles" that remembers where people last saw their keys, handbag, iPod or mobile phone.

The smart spectacles - which come with a built in camera, display screen and computer brain - can even identify unfamiliar plants or faces. In fact, the only thing it can't help you find are your glasses(ironic, huh! well, at least you need to keep track of just one thing:)) These Smart Goggles are the brainchild of Prof Kuniyoshi at the University of Tokyo. He believes they could revolutionise the lives of people who suffer from regular "senior moments", as well as those suffering from serious memory problems caused by dementia.

The Smart Goggles contain a compact video camera which films everything the wearer looks at - and a viewfinder which fits snugly in front of the right lens. The glasses are connected to a small, but smart computer processor worn on the back which can learn to recognise shapes extremely quickly. To use these glasses, the wearer first wanders around a house or workplace for an hour or so, looking at the objects he or she may later want to find in a hurry. Each time the camera focuses on a object, the wearer should speak out the object's name aloud, which is then recorded and stored into the memory. Once the names have been programmed in, the glasses will try to find the right name for any object they come across. The names appear in small type on the viewfinder. The glasses search its video memory and show its last known location on the display. And if they cannot recognise an object they make a guess and adapt from their mistakes!!

In a demonstration at the university last week, the team were able to programme in the names and identity of 60 everyday objects, including a compact disc, a hammer, a potted begonia and a mobile phone. Prof Kuniyoshi believes the invention could become a useful memory aid for the elderly, as well as for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. The high speed, image recognition technology could also help develop robots or other educational purposes. More sophisticated versions could also help people who are bad at remembering names get through awkward social situations (read "my husband" here!).

But as fancy as it sounds, its a dumb programmable invention, and certainly has its flaws.( like hide or move an object from its original place and your smart glasses won't be so smart anymore) And the prototype version is still too bulky and obtrusive to use, as you can see from the picture above. However, they are trying to shrink the camera and viewfinder down to a more sensible and fashionable size within a few years. For now, its a start, and the concept can be really useful, so we wish them all the luck! But remember to not forget your glasses, or you are back to square one:)
Komeng Adul

Komeng Adul

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