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Sleep and Glasses
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jducoeur
Okay, LinkedIn just did a good job this week. Two more interesting articles:

Google is planning on selling VR Glasses. (Which will inevitably get called "Google Goggles", never mind that they already have a product by that name.) I fear I may have to buy a pair, just to see what can be done with them.

The NY Times article notably doesn't say very much about input devices, which is really my primary concern. Basic mouse-style action will apparently be done through head movements (which leads to an amusing and possibly accurate mental image of a sea of people looking like refugees from the Matrix suffering from Tourette's), but I really want to know how I, eg, do a search or start a phone call or such. Voice input is obviously a possibility, but I'm not sure whether it's up to snuff yet. (Siri is a lovely toy, but I don't know whether you can rely on it.) It'll be very interesting to see how this all works.

The BBC has a really interesting article on natural human sleep patterns, and the possibility that the modern conventional wisdom may be just plain wrong.

The main point is that there is a *lot* of evidence that waking up in the middle of the night for an hour or two isn't just okay -- it's actually the natural and normal way to sleep, and that until the 19th century everybody just *knew* that. The implication is that modern society may have fetishized the notion of eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, and that may be doing more harm than good.
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"The glasses are not designed to be worn constantly — although Google expects some of the nerdiest users will wear them a lot — but will be more like smartphones, used when needed."

If this is an accurate statement of design intent, then Google have Failed To Get It, once again. As the writer of the article implicitly points out in the article's lede, the whole *point* of putting this functionality in glasses is so that you *don't* have to reach into a pocket for it, that it's always in front of your eyes already.

I'm looking forward to when someone gets this right, but it's got to include 100% waking uptime as a core principle, or they'll never get the comfort/usability aspects right.

Also, given how many of the "nerdiest users" need corrective lenses, I'd expect a winning version of this tech to be talking about vision correction from the beginning.


I saw the equivalent of that BBC article on sleep a few years ago. Simply changing my attitude towards interrupted sleep reduced my stress noticeably.

I feel compelled to note that "we did it that way a few hundred years ago" and "it is more natural" do not equate in any way, shape, or form, for a variety of reasons.

I mean, would you take it that you knew the "natural eating habits" of humans from reading Scappi?

And, while the experiment noted did show that pattern, I note that 14 continuous hours of darkness isn't the human norm, and no good mention is made of what the subjects did in their active periods - and your activity has hefty impact on your sleep patterns.

So, while perhaps suggestive, I'd not put a lot of stock in that.

It occurs to me that it would also support their position a great deal if they could point to Asian sources of the same or prior eras that reference the same pattern. If the pattern is referenced only in European (or European influenced) sources, that suggests a cultural issue, not a biological one.

I would not put stock in their findings as a definitive "This pattern we observed is the One Truth" kinda way. But what I did find very valuable, is the notion that the issue is capable of variation. Sleeping in a single, continuous block was a cultural value of mine so deeply ingrained that I wasn't even *aware* of it until I saw a similar article to this one, a few years ago. Yes, maybe regularly interrupted was a European cultural construct. But similarly, that allows the possibility that *un*-interrupted sleep was also a cultural construct, and could be handled differently.

To put it another way, I wouldn't take Scappi as evidence of "natural eating habits", but I could learn to cook some yummy new things.

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