The alarm goes off and you slowly stir in your bed. Reaching over to your nightstand, you pick up your glasses to check your email. That’s right—you can flip through your emails, maybe open some Microsoft Word files, and see the email of your friend’s birthday party photos all just by looking through your glasses. After your morning coffee, you can simply speak out loud for your glasses to write down memos and important notes to save for later. Glance out the window, and the glasses have the temperature and forecast appear straight to your eyeball. See your dog do something funny? Announce, “take a picture” to your glasses and you automatically have the perfect shot. The modern world has finally created a computer you don’t even have to touch.
Back in June of this year, Google announced Project Glass, which consists of “wirelessly-connected glasses that allow their wearers to do a host of things” including all mentioned above. A small transparent display is at the top of one lens, and wearers can see the “text and images by glancing upward.” The glasses work straight through the display on the glasses, or also on a tablet connected to the glasses. Google is using the prototyping method to demonstrate the features of this innovative technology. This way, Google can make as many changes as they want to improve the model and fix any concerns. Google will also most likely continuously update, test, and evaluate these glasses and take note of each failure to make this technology the best it can be. Using the pilot system to roll out this new technology, Google chose the department of software developers to test the prototypes. Google plans to sell refined versions in late 2013.
There are many concerns with wearable technology, specifically with Google’s electronic glasses. First, there is always a concern with durability. Glasses are frequently dropped; will the tiny computer attached to the glasses be able to withstand the impact on solid concrete? Also as mentioned in the Economist’s article, there definitely needs to be an improved model so that the glasses do not look so “nerdy” and straight out of a science fiction novel, but instead more refined and concealed. Another concern is of usability—will the glasses be able to detect when a conversation is occurring or will it get mixed up and confused with the user’s daily life? Since the user can just speak out loud for the glasses to record any information, it may get difficult for the glasses to distinguish when the user is actually speaking to the computer. A final major concern is privacy: these glasses see everywhere you go, everybody you meet, and can be connected entirely in your daily life. How should we know what it can and cannot see? Fortunately though, Google does plan to make them cheap enough so that it will not just be a luxury for the rich, and can be enjoyed by many.
Wearable technology is most likely the next big thing to appear in the technology world. It remains a tricky risk though, as “the first attempt at producing new computing paradigms rarely sticks.” As Google steps forward with these glasses, they definitely have one leap ahead among competitors and in the general electronic world. Google’s glasses are the technology aficionado’s dream—you can now be connected to a computer from the moment you wake up to the moment your eyes drift asleep.