About Project Google Glass
Computers with head-mounted display have been the stuff of science fiction for decades. Numerous companies have tried to turn the concept into reality but their attempts have not inspired mass market acceptance. Enter the Google Glass project. It was evident from the start that this was going to be a game-changer. With Google’s financial might and vast experience in Internet technologies, this could potentially become the next big thing.
A Closer Look Inside the Glass
Google Glass is a lightweight gadget which can be worn like common eyewear. Design is important as it must be unobtrusive and aesthetically pleasing if it is to gain traction. Reactions have generally been positive for the initial prototype though vocal critics remain. Glass is meant to be a stand-alone device with microphone, camera, Bluetooth, GPS and WiFi. It accepts inputs via touch, voice commands, and hand gestures.
A single clear prism generates the display located just above the right eye. The placement and size were carefully chosen to make it functional without being overly distracting, which is critical when crossing a street or driving a car. The current implementation calls for a mirror and beam splitter but Google has applied for patents using other near-eye display techniques such as rendering on the lens and the retina itself, though there are substantial problems that need to be solved before these become feasible.
Applications of Google Glass
The company released a video demonstrating how Google Glass might be used in the real world. Here it was seen capturing images, recording videos, uploading media to the Web, sharing content with friends, navigating through roads, conducting video chats, performing keyword searches, making translations, showing flight details, and many more. It’s clear that Google is bent on showcasing its vast intellectual properties on this platform and this makes the device all the more compelling. The team behind this project has also shown preliminary Google Glass apps for Gmail, Evernote, Path, and New York Times at a SXSW developer session. The apps were noticeably simple and streamlined, in accordance to the product’s design philosophy.
What The Future Holds
Recent announcements and filings have shed light on some interesting possibilities. For instance, it was revealed that compatibility with prescription glasses is being worked out for successors of the Google Glass Explorer Edition. Patents were also uncovered suggesting the unit’s potential as a master controller for smart homes, appliances, and other devices. It might soon be used for everyday things like opening the garage door, turning the lights off, switching channels, tweaking the thermostat settings, and so on.
Independent developers are already bursting with ideas on how to maximize its potential. Imagine Glass being used to help the blind “see” by converting images of the surroundings into a sonar model. There is already an app that does this effectively through Android phones and porting it to a hands-free device like Glass will make it even more practical. Also in development are apps that allow users to dictate email and identify people in a crowded place. The later can be useful for finding friends inside an airport and similar situations though it may see some backlash due to privacy concerns.
This early, Google Glass is showing incredible promise but it also has many challenges to overcome. There is no doubt that the company will work hard to address these and continue to push the boundaries forward.