Could Augmented Reality Give Smartglasses The Break They Need At The Opera?

Luke Briggs, Developer at 4 Roads gives his thoughts on how Smartglasses could get the break they need at the Opera.

Let’s be honest – smartglasses just haven’t caught on in the general consumer world. Few people want to have something relatively bulky and distracting all over their face. Whilst this is something that can just be put down to the technology not really being ready yet, it could also be because it’s not targeting the right market at the moment either. Maybe augmented reality in the form of smart glasses could start to gain some more traction by being used in places where overlaid information significantly improves someone’s experience, and one such place could well be the Opera.

I recently had the joy of being able to take my mum to experience La Boheme in New York. We were both first timers so neither of us had any idea of what was really happening. However, the MET Opera like many Opera houses has installed a subtitle system – a minimally invasive setup which displays translated subtitles on the rear of seats.

To well versed Opera goers these systems are somewhat controversial, but to newbies and Opera-lite users they have become rather essential. The unfortunate thing is the UX of using these just isn’t great. When you’re looking at the stage, you can’t see the subtitles. When you’re looking at the subtitles, you can’t see the stage.

There’s a breathtaking scene where some 300 people are present in the stage area and the constant activity meant I didn’t look at the subtitles at all and just enjoyed it for the spectacle that it was. This separation of information made me think that overlaying the subtitles would be significantly easier.
It would still have to be personal so they can be translated and not visible at all for the people who just don’t want them. That then quickly made me think of Google Glass and a quick search revealed a great piece from the Verge about exploring smartglasses at the Opera. Fortunately the project appears to be continually growing.
I find it fascinating that such classic entertainment as the Opera is still subject to innovation right on the forefront of technology; I for one would certainly love to try it out!