Emerging technology

How Google Glass will change mobile forever

26th November 2013

Glass is the flagship ‘wearable technology’ product developed by Google. For the layman, Google Glass uses video-generated reality to overlay visual information onto real-world objects – all through a pair of glasses. The notion of using imagery on top of real-world objects using augmented reality has enabled Google Glass to take the media by storm. Today we’re exploring the capabilities of Google Glass and the extent to which it will alter the landscape of mobile technology forever.

What is Google Glass?

A tiny computer attached to a head-piece, (or in nerd terms an optical head-mounted display) this little system is worn like glasses, but without the need for an eye test. The tiny screen displays messages and various other things to the user. It also has a camera attached, allowing for the use of photo taking and videos. A small built-in ear-piece on the head-pieces legs which allows the user to hear messages through the back of his/her ear (that’s gotta feel weird).

There is a touchpad located on the side of the device, allowing users to flick through a virtual timeline. Swiping gestures backwards display current events, such as weather, while sliding forwards shows previous events, such as past phone calls, photos, circle updates, etc. Google Glass would of course not be complete without the use of Wi-fi connection and Bluetooth. Working in a similar way to smartphone, only no hands, the device is activated by the user’s voice, answering any questions and all commands using augment reality.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality duplicates the area surrounding the user within a computer and then creates additional information or adds scenes to it. The purpose of this is to create an environment in which the user cannot tell the difference from the real world to the virtual world. Nowadays, augmented reality is used in many things with different purposes, we often see it in games for entertainment, the military use it in training and engineers use it for designing cars.

How does AR work within Google Glass?

The augmented reality within Google Glass is designed to interface with built-in apps like Google Now, Google Maps, Google+ and Gmail. Taking in it’s surroundings, the device can record the time as well as the forecasting weather, displaying it upon the screen. The built-in camera responds to the users voice. Simply say, “Take a picture” and a small box will appear on screen surrounding whatever the user wishes to photograph. It works in a similar way when recording videos. It can also do a live recording to whomever the user wishes, displaying what the user sees to a video link while showing the receiver on a smaller scale. Think Apple Facetime without holding the phone in your hand. If lost the user can ask for a route to his/her destination or if hiking or mountain climbing then the user can ask for the safest path. The path is displayed upon the screen in a similar way to Google Maps.

Rather than typing out a message, simply speak the message and who its for and it will be sent to that person. When receiving a message, it is displayed on screen along with who sent it and at what time. Stuck for the answer to a question or just plain nosy? You can ask Glass any question and it will not only display the answer with additional information, but it will speak it too. On holiday, but don’t speak the lingo? Simply speak to Glass and ask it to translate to whatever language and what you say will be understood by the locals. Other times, you don’t even need to ask Glass as it will simply display the information upon the screen, such as bus times, train times, air plane times, etc.

How can Google Glass change the world?

Glass doesn’t necessarily appeal to everyone but the device has the potential to revolutionise the world of mobile. With a variety of apps, all used without the need for hands, Glass could help many people who depend upon their hands for work. If a doctor was working on a patient who had been in a car crash, Glass could direct the surgeon towards the safest way to remove any shrapnel or metal objects minimising harm to the patient. A similar thing could also be used by vets.

Glass could even be handy to the the armed forces. If a bomb was found, but the soldier didn’t know which wire to defuse then the Glass could point it out. Scientists could perhaps benefit from it as well. While mixing different compounds together, Glass could alert the researcher as to which chemicals could help the experiment and which ones might be likely to cause an unwanted explosion. Even sportsmen might find it handy. Golfers could use it to judge how far the ball is from the hole to get the right swing. Cricket or baseball players could use it in a similar way.

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