Computers You can Wear: Google Glasses

Screenshot from Project Glass
(Screenshot from Google I/O’s Skydiving experiment, 6/27/12)

It’s been a staple in science fiction films, but now an augmented reality headset display is attracting attention as an imminent prospect. Project Glass, design patented by Google, is a program set to debut a product that offers Smartphone see-through display on an eyewear with voice command capabilities, Ironman style.

In its recent June 27 demo at Google I/O, the project showed us just how far the internet could go with us. Top athletes passed the baton between skydiving, mountain biking, and skimming down the side of the convention center building, all to demonstrate Google Glass in the most extreme environments, with the audience along for the ride.

How is this achieved? Each headset is connected to a Google+ hangout, where they can livestream each unique point of view complete with audio to the others. In other prototype tests on Google’s Youtube channel, they are used more practically such as connecting a woman’s family in France to the pictures and live updates of her newborn baby’s “firsts”. As shown by the Google I/O exhibition, the technology also opens up a number of new angles to view the world from; things like extreme skiing and desert sand-gliding need not be viewed from a distance, but from the eyes of the performer. Most conveniently, hands-free technology enables an instant action without the fumbling for cell phones.

While not necessarily an original idea, Google nevertheless plans to bring an exciting new addition to the world of video chatting and livestream sharing. Set to be around the price of a smartphone, they may not be out by the end of this year, but they are planning to be the next accessory people can’t go without. With other capabilities that can control music, get directions, and take pictures with the half of the eye that the screen covers, Google Glass seems to be reconfiguring the smartphone format altogether. It might even incorporate into other types of eyewear in future designs.

Drawbacks? If the models become more seamlessly hidden in plain sight as plans are projected to be headed, glasses acting as instant spy cameras threaten to be an uncomfortable violation of privacy. Besides, Google+ doesn’t exactly have the broadest following, to say the least. With Google at the lead of development, the more widely used Apple produced smartphones might not sync as well. In the time it takes to successfully launch the working Google Glass, Apple will have gained much more ground in upgrades and consumers; people will need their new smartphones now as opposed to waiting around for Google Glass to appear. And when it comes to making revenue, Google Ads could be a dreadful possibility.

Whether or not Project Glass itself becomes a sellout, wearable computers are here to stay.


  1. Shayana Galliher says:

    They have had glasses like this for 10 years. The only problem was that they weren’t wireless and they did little tasks. Google defiantly wasn’t the first to try this.

    • Vida Shi says:

      Thank you for the comment!
      Yes, they definitely aren’t the first, but I think it’s interesting how they are now planning to market these as the next smartphone-related product for the public.

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