Google recently let eager technology journalists get their hands on their latest piece of ‘wearable tech’ known as Google Glass. Essentially it’s a computer in a pair of glasses that, among other things, allows you to surf the internet, send emails, record 720p HD video and take pictures.
For such a small device it is packed with technology. Glass uses Wifi and Bluetooth to connect to the internet or your phone and offers 16GB of storage. The innovative screen gives the wearer a view of a translucent screen apparently suspended in front of them on which information, emails, directions, etc are projected.
Because it lacks a keyboard Google have incorporated several ways of controlling Glass. The touchpad allows clicking and scrolling functions, while voice activation software means you can prompt actions and search for information. Finally Glass uses an accelerometer and gyroscope to recognise gesture, such as flicking your head up to activate the computer. Voice, gesture and touch obviously have been around for a while now thanks to Apple’s Siri, Xbox’s Kinect and many mp3 players and tablets. But this is probably the most successful use of all three in a device. It’s a nail in the coffin for keyboards and another step towards invisible interfaces.
As innovative as Google Glass is, it’s not without its problems. While it makes checking emails and messages less intrusive than looking at your phone unless you’re an amazing multi-tasker you could trail off during a conversation to check out the latest alert to pop up in your viewfinder. It will take quite a confident person to stand in a crowd telling their glasses to ‘take a picture’, which doesn’t seem like a better option to simply pressing a button.
Because of its ability to unobtrusively film and take pictures it’s thought that many public places, like cinemas and swimming pools, will ban the use of Google Glass for fear of copyright infringement or voyeurism. Finally, while you’re lost in a cutting edge technological world all everyone else gets to see is you staring into the middle distance slowly stroking the side of their head.
While Glass is breaking new ground for technology, time will tell whether it redefines how we interact with technology or just becomes an evolutionary footnote. We should find out towards the end of 2013 when the first consumer versions will be released. They’ll come in a choice of five colours and will probably cost you the best part of £1,000.
Find out more: : http://www.google.com/glass/start/what-it-does/