chased by google x

A few months ago, I built myself a fake pair of Google Glass. Back then, glass was the cyberpunk edge—the future of wearable computing, the chance for potentially augmented vision. Today, tech bloggers have worn them in the shower and taken photos for their stream. They’ve been reviewed and hacked. The first round of apps have been reviewed and hacked. But there was a moment when glass was the V-2 rocket of consumer electronics. And like the US government, I was going to get myself a piece of that one way or another.

An old pair of reading glasses, some shaped balsa wood, and pieces of clear acrylic from the edge of a photo frame. Thrift stores are elephant graveyards for commodity goods—one step above having actually caught on fire, knick-knacks, appliances, stereo equipment, and AA-battery personal electronics join the heaps of consumer goodwill that saves these wonderful organ donors from the landfill.

With sanding and grinding, coats of paint and varnish, and long hours studying all the public photos of Glass that were available, I had my own gleaming wireframe of newness. My fake Glass were utterly non-functional. Except of course, for that one crucial function—they made it appear as if I was actually wearing Glass.

I hit the streets. Underneath my dreadlocks, and my counterfeit third eye gleamed ever-watchful. I stalked the city in my cyberpunk-black hoodie and boots, waiting to see what would happen. But nothing had changed. On the face of a White man in jeans and a sport coat, a face computer might appear as an odd addition, a grafittoed augmentation. But when a man with stainless steel hardware in his ears and twisted knots in his hair has an extra piece of plastic above his right eye, no one stops to look twice.

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