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Helmets will rule: Go big until you can go small

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The future of spatial computing may well be tiny, but the present should be big – with helmets.

Spatial Computing

Mark Soares, Founder, Blokhaus Inc.

In a conversation on X, I responded to a particularly doofy picture of a person wearing the soon-to-be-shipping Apple Vision Pro. I declared that it might as well be a helmet because whatever that chunky goggle thing is? Well, it still feels like…a niche chunky goggle thing.

It got the attention of online personality @0xgaut, who responded with an AI-generated image of a rather sleek-looking helmet of the Designed by Apple in California variety. Elon Musk replied to that render with [fire emoji]. Okay, so Elon is down? Love him or hate him, hear me out. 

History is littered with forays into wearable tech that has fallen flat, like Nintendo's Virtual Boy, Google Glass, and Oculus. Why? Simple: people are not keen on tech that messes with their faces. Our faces are our natural interface, vital for verbal and nonverbal communication. Disrupt that and things get awkward fast.

Tech solutions? Go tiny, or go big. Because small still ‘aint small enough’, maybe you should go big – and that's precisely where helmets come in, an option strangely overlooked till now.

Here's my pitch for helmets: total face coverage beats partial any day. First, it signals a 'do not disturb' mode to others. Second, it offers complete privacy, making it more adaptable and appealing for public use.

And let's be real – helmets have a ‘cool’ factor. They're your comfy ally in lousy weather, and a handy solution for immersive sound without bothering others.

Imagine this: if you had to choose a wearable spatial computer for daily use, would you pick something like the Apple Vision Pro, or a full-face-covering helmet? I'd bet many would lean towards the helmet. Especially in a world where actual mixed reality has not arrived, and this technology tends to make you look, well, stupid. 

One day, roaming around without a helmet might seem as bizarre as having your phone number and address in a phonebook – unthinkable, right? So, tech giants, don't sleep on the humble, yet mighty helmet as the format for the present of spatial computing. It's not just a device; it's a game-changer for privacy, comfort, and utility in a mixed-reality world until you can go tiny, that is.