Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A New Way to Look at the World

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.



  1. Project glass is a very innovative and compelling project by Google. If they could make this product affordable and reliable it will be a huge step for technology. People would really enjoy this technology. It would be a wait similar to apples lines after an IPhone is released.
    This idea has never been done before and could end up making Google a lot of money, or being a huge dud. This depends on how well the technology works. If it goes well Google may surpass apple as the top product innovator. This would be huge for the company. These glasses are similar to a smartphone that you can use just my looking forward. It is an amazing idea. If Google does this then many companies will follow up with their own version and create a new market for smart-glasses.
    Though this idea is great, I believe there are a few flaws. In order to make these glasses work, Google will need a lot of small technology, which is very expensive. Many glasses are expensive by themselves. Adding a computer to them will make them even more expensive. Furthermore, glasses are very fragile and break frequently. Google must make these glasses very durable in order to withstand a fall or hit. If they are not tough enough then people would be forced to carry around an extra pair of glasses. This could make buyers stay away form Project Glass. In addition, Anna’s point of the glasses distinguishing between conversation and commands is a big concern for me. If the glasses are doing things randomly it can get annoying and deter people from buying them.
    The glasses can also be a safety hazard. If you are driving down the road and a message pops up it will distract you from the road. These glasses could then cause many accidents and possible cost people their loves. Furthermore, if people are walking down the sidewalk and are not paying attention they could walk into people and people could get injured that way. To fix this problem Google would have to have an off switch for the display so people can turn them off when they are in a vehicle.
    Apple has responded to this innovation with their own wearable device. It has been called iGlass in rumors, but has not been given an official name. Apple has not commented on what it can do, but they have patented a wearable device that sounds similar to project glass.


  2. The iPhone has been a breakthrough for modern technology. Just when you think it can get any better, a new model comes out with improved features. Google is coming out with its own technology that will make wave for Americans. Project glass is a hands free technology that is worn as eye glasses. It is able to send and receive message, look up information, receive emails and even take pictures. I think that this is so amazing and will be very appealing to many people because of the hands free aspect. Now people can be doing daily errands such as cleaning the house, and simultaneously be sending emails at the same time. This piece of technology will be efficient for the busy American.

    Although this technology does have its benefits, it has some flaws. Are these glasses only made for people with vision problems or can anyone wear them regardless of their eyesight? I think another problem with these glasses is that the screen is too close to your eyes. If you are viewing something it can make you very dizzy. It is the same reason your mother always told you not to sit too close to the TV when you were younger; it is bad for your eyes. I think it can also be very distracting is students or employees are wearing them during class or work. If something pops up in the middle of an exam, it could be considered cheating. There definitely need to be a “sleep mode” for these glasses so that they don’t interfere during busy times. Another down fall to having information stored in your glasses is the very fact that glasses are small and easy to lose. If someone finds your glasses they can have access to all your information and emails. Google should have security on the glasses so that it asks you to sign in a password, this way in case they are lost it can prevent people from having access to your personal information.

    These glasses are a great idea but they have many flaws. Before Google comes anywhere near putting them on the market they should assess all the negative aspects that come along with the glasses. Google needs to make sure that the glasses are safe for the human eye and that they don’t cause damage. Google has to make sure that the glasses know when the person is talking to them or to a person. If these kinks are all worked out I think the glasses could be a great success.

  3. Anna, this is an unbelievable article. This is the point when I ask myself, how much further can technology go?? The evolution of technology these days is occurring at such a rapid rate, and to me, Project Glass is one of the more advanced technologies the world has ever seen.

    Although we could write books about the potential and ability Project Glass has, let’s just start with how you explain the ability to check your e-mails. Currently, the most efficient way to check e-mails would either be by opening up your laptop or looking at your phone. Just when you think these would be the quickest ways, Google comes out with a pair of glasses that allows you to view messages at the blink of an eye, literally. How about the weather feature? This could be viewed as being insignificant, but how many times do you wake up wondering or asking someone, “what’s it like out today”? Well, now you can just put the glasses on and you will know instantly. These are all the little things that can add up and save you and abundance of time, especially when trying to start the day. And like I always say, people will pay for convenience.

    Now, as I mentioned before, there are many other features that are advantageous besides being able to check e-mail and weather, but I would like to touch on some of the things that I view as being unrealistic or problematic. While watching the video, two concerns came to my mind. The first being that I was confused with the in-store navigation. How is this possible? Is there something that each store has to install or agree to with Google to have in their stores? If so, how many stores will have this? These are all questions that came to mind when thinking about this feature. Secondly, I believe that there are big safety concerns that would come with a device like Project Glass. I agree with the privacy issues you mention in your post, but I would like to also add that these glasses could become very distracting. For example, I could see someone who is using one of the features become too focused on what is going on in their lenses than what is around them. The first instance that comes to mind is using the navigation feature while crossing the street and possibly walking out in front of a car or something—seems crazy but I would suggest the glasses include a feature that detects oncoming traffic/cars if possible.

    Lastly, I would like to comment on the price and appearance. I think these are two vital aspects of new technology, especially something like a pair of glasses. Are they going to be “stylish” enough for people to wear on a daily basis? I know you mentioned that they are working on the style, but customers are going to have to feel comfortable in them. Also, you mentioned the price. I was wondering how low they could actually make the price. Despite this being a very convenient, innovative piece of technology, it does a lot of the same things a smartphone does. So customers who already have spent money on a smartphone (which is a high percentage of people these days), will they also be willing to spend a pretty penny on something like Google glasses? Like all evolving technology, we will just have to wait and see.

  4. Google’s Project Glass seems great when it comes to how much our world has grown through technology. It makes me wonder about what more we could possibly come up with.
    Although I agree that this is a great innovation, I cannot help but think about how our world may becoming to immersed in all of this technology. It has come to the point where people do not know when to put down their phone. These glasses are now offering another means of communicating. Do we really need these glasses when we already have our phones, computers, and iPads doing basically the same thing? I believe the glasses will just make us lazier, because now we don’t even have to worry about taking our phone out of our pocket and typing a response; we just have to talk to our glasses.

    I believe this also hinders our ability to communicate with others. If you are wearing your glasses and you run into someone and start having a conversation, you may get distracted with a notification popping up on your glasses. We get distracted as it is when we here our phone ring in the middle of a conversation with a person.

    One comment made was how the glasses could potentially be dangerous when it comes to crossing streets or driving. These are potential hazards due to the distractions the glasses make when letting us know we have a message. I would hope that people would know to take off the glasses when they are about to drive. Texting and driving is a dangerous issue and these glasses could potentially be worse.

    I found an article where a worker on the glasses design said, “I can say that the display didn’t hinder my ability to see or look around. The display disappeared until I needed to see what was being shown. I might never have to pull my phone out again to reply to a text, get directions or snap a photo.” While he does say it didn’t hinder his ability to see, I believe everyone is different when it comes to their ability to focus on their surroundings. His comment also emphasized my belief that we are becoming lazy to the point where we don’t even have to take out our phone and reply to a text, etc.

    Another point made in the article was the battery life lasting up to six hours. If you are out for a while and the glasses’ battery dies, the device is just another thing to carry around when you can just have your phone.

    The glasses clearly are a luxury item. While it is amazing to think about how far we have come in technology, it is just as important that we do not lose ourselves in it. We have to have a limit.


  5. Project Glass is definitely an intriguing new technology that seems easy and fun to use. However, I am not so sure that it is applicable for everyday use. This up and coming Google product seems more of a leisure pair of glasses than a pair worn for every daily activity. Google is still in the developing stage of Project Glass and I believe this process has a long way to go before a fool proof prototype is launched. When first looking at the video posted about this project, these glasses seem very sophisticated and well adaptable to the person’s life who is wearing them. However, they only showed this person in certain leisure settings, more suitable for a Saturday or Sunday schedule. The average person encounters much more on a weekly basis for which I am not sure Project Glass is equipped to handle yet.

    The largest issue already raised about these glasses is the question of whether or not it knows when you are talking to it or someone else. It could easily pick up words you say in a conversation and mistake them as commands, bringing something in front of your eyes while you are speaking to someone. I am skeptical about the use of these glasses throughout many different jobs for both courtesy and safety reasons. If you are in a business meeting, you do not want notifications popping up to distract you. You also don’t want these distractions while operating heavy machinery or driving a vehicle. For me personally, I need complete silence when I read in order to retain what is on the page. I imagine it would be very difficult to read while one’s reading glasses were continually making noise and popping up images. This brings me to my next question of whether or not this device can be turned on and off. If so, this makes the glasses a little more adaptable for everyday use, only turning it on when the time and circumstances permit.

    I am concerned about the effects of sweat and if that can damage the product. Many people work out with glasses, but if their sweat or bouncing around is going to harm the technology, these glasses are not fit for everyday use. Another issue to consider is the effect this computerized technology will have on the user’s eyes over a long period of time. It has been proved that staring at a computer, TV, or electronic device for too long is bad for your eyes and now the computer is being brought right in front of them, everywhere they go. This technology might be too close to an individual’s eyes and I believe that there should be more testing done on this issue so that future buyers will not be wearing glasses, meant to help the eyes, that ultimately damage their eyes. My final concern is where this technology gets its energy from. It contains a computerized chip but all computers have chargers. Can this chip be removable and placed on a charger? Project Glass seems interesting and potentially successful in the future but I think that Google has much more research and development that has to go into this product before any form of launch.

  6. Wow. Project Glass amazes me and scares me at the same time. What do I make of it? The ability to have everything you get from a computer right in front of your eyes provides endless possibilities. However, as you mentioned this is far from a fully developed technology. My questions would be about how the glasses labels know when to pop up and when to stay hidden. I understand that if you look up they are supposed to be more prevalent but what if you are driving and you look upwards into your rearview mirror and suddenly you have 6 or 7 notifications directly in your face. I can not imagine the department of transportation would be too happy with this situation. Maybe the new patent on the glasses' "transforming nose piece" will make them feel better. I tend to doubt that.

    Obviously, Project Glass can allow us to be more mobile, productive, and connected. The possibilities seem endless as is shown in the video with the user playing a ukelele to his lady friend via a video call on top of a building. There will be "bugs" as you mentioned but the presence of a competitor should expedite a situation where "bugs" are raced to be fixed so that naturally a company would not lose out to its competitor. My recent research on this topic has yielded just that: competitors. The company Vuzix is actually coming out with its brand of "computer glasses" in mid 2013, a half a year before Google's Project Glass. Vuzix's glasses actually will allow developers to build in apps but it is only a intelligent "display" for smartphones and not a stand alone product. Microsoft, as is their nature, will also be developing a rival product. They are developing a similar product except in their patent is this line: users will be "wearing at least a partially see-through, head mounted display." A partially see-through! Well yeah I would hope so, I would rather use a smartphone than walking around for all intensive purposes with a blind fold on my head. I see the amazing advantages of this technology by I am skeptical as to its usage and question its implementation until it is fully capable of handling the everyday human lifestyle. I think you wrote a very interesting blog and I thank you for enlightening us to this new technology.


    Joey Cahalan

    Works Cited:

  7. Anna, I really enjoyed reading this post because I could totally relate to the scenarios you described where Google’s Project Glass could be useful. The first thing that popped into my mind when I first saw this post was Cookie from the Nickelodeon TV show “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide”. Growing up I would watch that show and be amazed by the glasses that Cookie wore. They seemed so sci-fi to me, but now companies like Google and Apple are trying to build technology that was once only fiction. Also, it seems amusing to me that, for many years people have been trying to move away from glasses, using contacts and getting laser eye surgery to improve eyesight. Now, technology is put in a pair of glasses and suddenly people revert back to glasses.

    These glasses have created many concerns for me (many of which have already been addressed in previous comments). I would like to add a few new concerns that these glasses might cause. The first has to deal with people who already wear glasses. Will Google customize the lens to the user’s eyesight or will they be similar to a non-prescription pair of glasses that are worn as accessories? Putting a prescription in these glasses could get expensive and, as a person’s eyesight changes, will they have to purchase a brand new pair of Project Glass glasses. Google will have to take this into consideration because they cannot leave out a huge market. And going off of what Amanda said in her comment, can these glasses be worn if activities that require a lot of movement, like a run or a spontaneous game of soccer? People want to go on with their lives and not have to worry that doing an activities may hinder their glasses. As the technology becomes even better, maybe Google should look into nanotechnology for contact lenses.

    Next, how will these glasses deal with outside noise? Will they be able to distinguish the wearer’s voice from someone else? And even the voice recognition technology in general – will it be smart enough to understand exactly what the user is saying? I also think that it might be difficult for these glasses to replace smart phones because you have to talk to the glasses, whereas people are able to use smart phones in quiet situations. And, having to talk to the glasses could make it more difficult to switch applications. Also, people do not want to say out loud everything that they write on their phones. I don’t think are able to replace smart phones at this time.

    Another point I want to address is the technology being put into place to accommodate smart phones. NFC technology and scanning functions for phones are all very new uses for phones, but if Google releases these glasses, will NFC and other technologies become obsolete before they even get a chance to be used? Is innovation advancing too quickly that keeping up with it might be impossible?

    I could go on about this forever, but one last question I have for Google is their plan to get these devices connected. Will people have to pay a monthly 4G fee, because that could get very expensive if they already have a tablet and a smart phone data plan? I would assume they cannot run strictly on wifi, but will they be able to link up to a wifi network to keep costs low.

    This was a mind-opening topic that I am very interested to keep an eye on as changes are made to the technology before its release in late 2013. I cannot wait to see how it turns out.

  8. I am extremely interested to see how the idea of glasses being able to do so much more than just correct peoples visions, develops. I find it unbelievable that glasses will be able to perform so many tasks, so easily. This blog reminds me of the videos we watched in class about the projections of where technology will be within the next decades.
    Although I think that the idea of Project Glass is really cool and useful, I question its implications and its necessity. I understand that my generation is accustomed to being able to do a wide array of tasks with the ease and speed of a click of a button, yet I wonder how much more advanced and easier simple tasks need to be made. I am amazed at the capabilities we as humans have in order to continuously make technology better, yet at the same time it is a little scary. I am concerned with how obsessed humans are with technology, that it may start to control our lives. It is just hard to imagine how technology can advance further than it already has.
    I am interested to see how the release of the glasses is received by society. I am sure that they will be a big hit, and cannot wait to see how they sell in the market. Despite the fact that I am a little skeptical about the necessity of these glasses, I know that people will highly value the capabilities of the glasses. Even more interesting, is how the glasses will be improved upon after they are fully developed and made available in the market.