Head mounted displays aren’t new but they do offer a new way to access old materials.
I can remember dying to get a VirtualBoy from my parents when I was a kid. The VirtualBoy, made by Nintendo, had a porthole you could stick your face in to (this was very uncomfortable) and look at a quasi-3D display in a red spectrum. It was cool, but it wasn’t practical.
With the recent advance in HMD’s (esp. Google Glass) and a friend’s purchase of Oculus Rift I think it is an important thing to note that people are starting to wear hardware more and more and this means that the realm of user experience design is changing. The flat screen and keyboard/mouse-combo aren’t the only ways to display and manipulate the internet. HMD’s could allow for augmented reality.
Augmented reality already exists but it’s expensive and has been underutilized because it isn’t comfortable for the user. In many cases, augmented reality has been used for a publicity stunt and the advertising was based on user reaction rather than user implementation and usage. HMD’s however could create a cheaper world for augmented reality which opens up an enormous door for advertising and for adding a third dimension to everyday internet use.
In the world of UX we must keep our ears to the streets about new software, but this cannot be in place of considering new hardware. Because hardware is slower to be adopted it means we have more time to consider its use and design. HMD’s have been around for a long time so there is a library of information on their use (for good and bad). Because this could represent the next big break toward future user interaction, it’s important to attune ourselves toward their use and their design.