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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Eyewear of the future will deliver new media, and may or may not look like this. (PHOTO: shutterstock.com )

New eyewear may deliver new media


Eyewear has always had some sort of function, whether it was to correct vision or keep out the rays of intense sunshine.

Then there was also a need to make eyewear fashionable. Designer frames go with the lenses to help someone create a look, a feeling or just a way to boast about their status within our society.

Now, thanks to the advancement of technology, eyewear will mean something else to a whole new group of users. I'm sure fashion will keep up eventually, too.

Second Sight Medical Products Inc. has come up with a set of glasses called the Argus II that works with a cyborg eye implant that can restore some sight for people who are completely blind. This bionic eye has gone through a number of panels and is awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration for use with patients in the U.S.

"All our clinical-trial patients were previously blind. Everyone was able to see something," Second Sight vice president of business development Brian Mech said in an interview with LiveScience.com.

According to test results, the eyewear allowed patients to locate objects like doors and windows in a room. In some cases, people were able to track motion of an object as well.

If Google has its way, millions of people will use its latest device called Google Glass. For about the past 10 years, when talking to business groups and organizations about emerging technology, I've told them about the box on a headband.

I would tell them that to stay relevant they would have to produce materials (media) on whatever device people would use in the future, no matter what it was. I may have gotten the headband wrong, but it looks like my vision of the future will be reality by next year.

According to reports confirmed by Google, the monster of search is working with program developers to get out prototypes of this clear box that is mounted to eyewear that covers a portion of the user's eye. Different media would be able to be viewed in the little glass cube.

Think of the possibilities: you could watch a video without needing a smart phone. Or, something really cool would be a "Pop Up Video" type program that could relay useful information or historical facts based on where you were. The device could lead a virtual tour of downtown Milwaukee inside your eyewear as you look and walk to different locations.

Whether it is assisting those who have lost their sight or informing and entertaining others, it looks like the eyewear of the future will truly be a sight to behold.

NUMBERS GAME: With less than a week left in the crucial February sweeps period, the national networks are tracking where they will fall. Sometimes the strengths of the local affiliates will help boost some networks, but their weaknesses in local news coverage can also bring down national rankings.

Currently, within the 18-49 demographic, NBC is struggling - so much so, that for the first time it may not finish in the top four networks. Univision has slid ahead in the latest tally, taken last week. Throughout the nation CBS is on top with a 4.9, Fox 2.0, ABC 1.7, Univision 1.5 and NBC at 1.2.

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