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Geek Girl Report: Tech You Can Wear – A Quick Look at Head-Mounted Displays

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Computers have come a long way from those gigantic, room-filling machines with the same capacity of a calculator. From desktops to laptops, they’ve become sleeker, slimmer and more powerful. And now with smartphones and tablets, it’s become easier than ever to carry a powerful little computer with you wherever you go. So, what’s the next step? Make them wearable.

While we’re still a ways off from having computers built into our T-shirts or something like that, wearable computers have actually been around for a couple of decades now. One of the best examples of wearable computers are head-mounted displays, computers you wear directly in front of your eyes. (think Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation, but a little more modern). And the most prominent variety of these wearable “eyeglass computers” is Google Glass.

I first learned about Google Glass last year, and although there still hasn’t been an official release date announced, what’s been revealed looks pretty promising. Using voice commands, Glass will allow you to take pictures, record video, send messages, get directions, even translate and search the Web, all hands-free. Not to mention it looks pretty cool, too. Right now, the product is still in testing, but reports have indicated that Glass may be hitting the market sometime in 2014, and possibly as early as the end of this year.

But, if wearable gaming PCs are more your style, you may be interested in the Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift is a virtual-reality headset with a 7-inch, 1080p screen and is designed to fill the user’s field of vision with the game while blocking out everything else, completely immersing the player in the game world. Developer kits for the Oculus Rift were released earlier this year, and already the system has some big names and franchises backing it, such as Valve, (Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress 2 will be Oculus compatible) Epic Games, and Id Software. So far, there has not been an official announcement on a release date or a price for the Oculus Rift, but now that the developer kits are out and making their way to game publishers, we may see a consumer version of the system as early as next year.

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