Geek Zone: Seeing the world through Google Glass

I’m looking forward to the upcoming deluge of random cat videos that people happen to record through their glass

What is Google Glass? It’s a tiny gadget that looks like a pair of glasses, but is actually a heads-up display, micro-movie camera and digital personal assistant all rolled into one. No keyboard — you just talk to it, like Siri. Where’s the display? It’s in the lens. How does it talk to you with no speaker? It uses a Bone Conduction Transducer to vibrate your ear bones, right through your skull. Google Glass is not a lot bigger than a regular set of glasses, but it does have a distinct look with the slightly bulky computer stuff and battery jammed into a chip about the size of your finger at the rear of the glasses. It pairs with your iPhone or Android to connect to the internet, so you’ll still need that handy.

When can you buy Google Glass? Currently, Glass is on Sale in the U.S. and U.K. for about $1,500 (CAD), but it’s very much still in the beta test phase so there aren’t a lot of apps available. Slide this wearable technology onto your face and you’ll be met with a 640 x  360 display (similar to a 25 -inch monitor eight feet away). Google Glass 2 was released earlier this year and supports adding prescription lenses. Currently, almost a million units have been sold, with predictions of 20 million in use by about 2018.

How many apps are there in the “Glassware Store”? About 115. OK, that’s not very many, but it is growing quickly as software developers make the transition to GlassWare. Some of the apps include a recipe app (great for when your hands are covered in flour or marinade), Word Lens (translates foreign language signs into your language) and Field Trip, which provides a heads up view of the world around you including history and architecture.

I’m looking forward to the upcoming deluge of random cat videos that people happen to record through their glass; and being able to replay any conversation, the contents of which slipped my mind; or displaying a person’s name above a their face when the Glass recognizes the person before you do.

Is it likely you’ll fall in love with this operating system (see Her the movie)? Well, probably not just yet. Google Maps is still single however. While urban exploring foreign cities like Seattle or Las Vegas by bike recently (with Google Maps in my pocket and a spare battery the size of the phone itself to power the very power-greedy GPS) permitted me to cruise around with handy voice directions, allowing me to focus on the view (and the people wearing bike-seeking-missiles) rather than the navigation itself. No trip planning required. Just get off plane with bike and phone, and ride.

Rob Orchiston is a software programmer who lives in Invermere and stays on top of the latest trends in technology. Direct and Science and Technology questions or comments to Geekzone at echo.geek.zone@gmail.com.

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