Years ago, probably far more than most under the age of twenty would recall, the producers of Star Trek-Next Generation gave us a preview of our own future. The beautifully written teleplay by Brannon Braga, titled ‘The Game’, features an addictive headpiece, straight-to-the-brain kind of video game designed by a race called the Ktarians. Commader Riker has returned from a vacation on Risa, where he’s met the lovely Etana Jol, a Ktarian female. Riker extols the joys of ‘the game’ and makes copies for distribution throughout the ship.
However, what appears to be harmless fun soon turns to terror as more and more people turn to brain-dead zombies, including Dr. Beverly Crusher. The object of the game is rather simple (just drop an image into a hole–sort of like playing Angry Birds or Cut the Rope) but the reward for getting it right is a shot of stimulation right to the brain’s pleasure center. Need I say that the game is a major hit? Dr. Crusher is not only useless as a physician, she switches off Data and plays ‘doctor’ with the android’s circuitry, effectively making him useless. The real ‘mission’ behind these games, you see, is that the Ktarians intend to board the Enterprise, and they’d prefer no one try to stop them, including Data (whose silicon pathways render the game null and void). With all the humans subject to the slightest suggestion, the Ktarians have a clear field.
Wes Crusher and his friend Robin Lefler (shown top left) figure it out early on (of course, Wesley always knows best, right?), and they wear ‘dummy’ headgear while trying to sort it all out. I’ll not spoil it further, but suffice it to say the Enterprise appears to be in a pickle–and highly suggestive, or as I said earlier, ‘zombies’.
Why am I telling you all this? Because Google has just introduced their new ‘Google Glass’ headset design that permits the wearer to interact constantly with the internet. Boy, you could really play Angry Birds with a vengeance now! No need to open up a laptop, no need even for your cell phone–you’re always connected; you’re always ‘engaged’. Note the design of the ‘game’ from Star Trek sends the image directly into the user’s eyes while allowing him/her to continue to see the real world (assuming the wearer even notices the real world once hooked). Google Glass reports to one eye, but allows the wearer to view the analog world while indulging in the digital one. Let’s just say, you might not want to wear it while driving or operating heavy machinery.
In today’s world, nearly everyone interacts on a computer at least once a day. Now, our younger generation needn’t worry about being ‘offline’. Texting, gaming, and Facebook posting will be constant–especially if you use the ‘glove’ that’s being touted as a means for ‘typing’ while wearing the ‘Glass’.
Like it or not, ‘enhanced reality’ is here. Cue the Zombie music.