Etiquette wearing smart glasses

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Etiquette wearing smart glasses

Smart glasses is a fuzzy term. But to keep these rules more generic, I had to make sure that they apply to all currently available and hopefully some of the future devices. Starting from simple camera glasses like first Spectacles or RayBan stories and ending with high-end XR headsets like Varyo XR-3.

Smart glasses should have at least one of the following features:

It might be a bit too early for defining such rules, as there are not so many smart glasses on the market and let’s be honest, none of them went mainstream. But it might be too late to agree about good practices after everyone got one. The worst that would happen is that they would never be widely adopted only because social norms wouldn’t have time to adapt to unresponsible first adopters (Think about glassholes).

So, I decided to pencil out these couple of rules, maybe even not rules. I would call them “reasonable expectations”.

#1. Educate others

As one great man said: with great power comes great responsibility. Society might not be ready to accept glasses yet fully. You, as a pioneer, need to educate people around you. Like any other tech, smart glasses have their advantages and flaws. Helping people around you to understand them might speed up adoption.

#2. Wear only in the appropriate places

Obviously, please don’t wear smart glasses in public toilets, locker rooms and other private places.

But it’s not all. There are many other areas where it’s might be inappropriate to wear smart glasses — having doubts if you can take on glasses? Do a simple test. Think how you would feel if someone would pull out their phone and start recording everything around, including you. If you would feel uncomfortable, better keep your glasses off.

#3. Play fair

Keep your superpowers at bay. Please don’t use the information received from glasses to gain an unfair advantage over people not having them. For example, using face recognition to learn more about the person while talking to them is not only unfair but also is inappropriate.

#4. Wear only when necessary

You wouldn’t walk around by holding your phone in front of you all the time. The same here, don’t make people uncomfortable with wearing glasses when it’s unnecessary. Try to keep them in a box, a pocket, or at least on the head or a collar.

#5. Stay aware of your surroundings

I don’t need to tell you to don’t cross a road while choosing your AR filters. So stay always safe.

Also, be aware of others. In some of the situations making hand gestures or giving voice commands might be inappropriate.

#6. They gonna know

Don’t even try to hide the fact that you’re wearing smart glasses. You’re not a spy. People will discover eventually, but it might be too late for you to explain.

AR is not a joke. Don’t augment other people or objects in harmful, offensive or illegal ways.

#7. Never record without approval

First, your glasses should have some indication when you’re recording; please don’t try to hide it. No recording is more important than a healthy relationship between people, even with someone’s you don’t know yet. Bystanders also have the right to private life.

Here I mean not only video recording but also photo, audio, 3D, and other types of data. I wouldn’t want everyone who entered my office to have a detailed, textured 3D model of it.

#8. Know your data

Data gathered by glasses is precious, and you’re the one responsible for keeping it safe. Yeah, the glasses producer might have their agenda, but they will be forced to add the privacy and data sharing configurations you would prefer under social pressure. Most probably, these settings are gonna be hidden. It’s your responsibility to ensure that data about you and people around you stay safe or, better, never gets recorded.

Know your data retention policies and make sure that you keep only necessary data on glasses.

Many other regular rules apply here as well: enable encryption, don’t use useless passwords, enable autolocking, etc.

#9. Stay human

The glasses are such a great form factor because they are almost frictionless. You still can see and interact with the world, literally through computer screens. But I doubt you would enjoy a date if someone special invited their lawyer who would sit with you, record everything and give recommendations.

The world will always be more vivid without a computer on your face. Stay real with others. Stay human.

These rules aren’t carved in stone. Most probably, they’ll get outdated earlier than you read them. But I hope they will make people think more about what it means to use smart glasses responsively.