Google Glass & Technology Leaps

 

It was 1965 when Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, introduced us to the concept of a mobile phone with his shoe phone on the Get Smart TV show.

But it was almost 20 years until the first mobile phone was used in 1983.

These days technology is moving way faster if you can think of it, someone is probably already trying to develop it.

I am not really a techno geek but am a little fascinated about where this is all going. Whether we like it or not, we are all along for the technology ride into the future.

One gadget due to hit the stores soon is the public release of Google Glass, Google’s wearable gadget to change your life!

So what is it, how does it work, how much will it cost etc?

Well it is a variation of the “heads up display” used by fighter pilots whereby information is projected onto a screen in front of you. In a plane it is the windscreen, in Google Glass (I will abbreviate to GGs from here on) the display is a lens that you wear like a normal pair of glasses.

Have a look at them at http://www.google.com/glass/start/ (including a video of looking through them)

Here’s some useful and less useful information about GGs

They still look a little geeky but some love that – no worse really than wearing an earphone for your mobile and talking to that. They got a great following at New York fashion week. Plenty of pretty chic people feeling pretty chic and cool about them!

There are patents and work being done on integrating GGs into prescription lens glasses to make them more “mainstream”. Presumably someone is also working on or considering some sort of contact lens version, I would think.

GGs are currently available to developers and selected people for around $US1500. They come in 5 colours too, Charcoal, Tangerine, Shale, Cotton, Sky! About 10,000 people have them now.

They are due for release to the public early in 2014 and the cost is planned to be a moderate $US299 or so.

How do they work? Well you talk to them, (or can swipe and push a button), and information is displayed on the small screen in front of you.

So what is the screen display like?
Apparently the screen doesn’t block your vision and is meant to work in bright sunlight. It is a 720pixel image that appears to float just ahead of you. Google says it’s the equivalent of a 25in screen seen from 8ft away.

Information, (like directions), is also conveyed to you by a bone conduction transducer (speaker equivalent). This means you hear the sound but no one else does. Kind of like transmitting the sound direct to your brain!

So what sort of conversation might you have?

OK Glass, take a picture
OK Glass, how do I get to Whangarei? (you see directions)
Ok Glass Google how long is the Auckland Harbour Bridge?
Ok Glass, send a message to … (they can synch with your phone contact data)
OK Glass, translate “…” to english
etc

And you can make calls on them.

So what else can you do on them?

Well, there are already apps available for them including:

Telstra in Aussie has an app for the 2014 AFL season so users can watch a game on them

Other apps include such things as:
Chinese air quality data
Recipe searches
Facebook timelines
Notepads, shopping lists etc
Elle fashion news
Medical profession face recognition for patient management
Twitter, YouTube and Facebook feeds of images text and video
Various games
Apps so you can just wink at your GGs to take a photo
In NZ there is an app to see before and after earthquake images of CHCH buildings

More apps at
http://glass-apps.org/google-glass-application-list
http://www.searchenginejournal.com/10-essential-google-glass-apps/67575/
http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/20/4339446/google-glass-apps-everything-you-can-do-right-now

Seemingly the main downsides at the present are sound quality and battery life but these are technical issues likely to be relatively easily overcome.

And big privacy issues are already looming especially re taking images and videos through them, for example in dressing rooms, movies, concerts, banks etc.

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/top-10-places-that-have-banned-google-glass/66585/

Some US states have already banned driving with them in advance of the launch and others are likely to follow suit soon. But how will anyone know once they look like normal glasses? And one benefit of them is that you can get GPS data and directions through them so some will want to use them for that.

An interesting thing is that there are at least 5 alternatives to GGs. But the companies behind these do not have the financial clout and information that Google does so are likely to fail or be acquired by Google I would guess. Google has already sued one company.

GGs will be big competition to Apple offerings (iPad, iPhone etc) in many ways so it will be interesting to see if an iGlass is in the future. Maybe Apple needed Steve Jobs to visualise that and make it happen? Will they keep up?

Where is all this going?

Who knows, but it is going there at an ever increasing speed. Hold on for the ride!