Last year or earlier (when it was in the making), when I first heard of Google Glass, I was of the opinion that it’s yet another device with a screen in front of your eyes, with wearable glasses through which you can see the virtual extension of reality you are interacting with (here is a demo); a technology called Augmented Reality (AR) which also allows to see through any object and collect more information about it; for example features of a car you liked, information about a book or food in a restaurant, it can also provide you the meaning of difficult words scanned (through an in-built scanner) from a newspaper or magazine, or you might have an intension of spying on something. I guess most of us have seen the popular Sixth Sense videoon technology developed at MIT Media Labbased on AR, it’s amazing. So, well, my perception was that it’s better and more exciting than other wearable devices.
But when I looked at this technology from Googlemore closely, I realized it’s not just a smart wear, it’s with some real, real, valuable purposes in human life. Again by connecting the dots in Google technologies, the way they are organized and may be added further in future, one can easily make out that Google Glass has been conceived with real good purposes with a long term view.
Before getting into how best it can be used, let me quickly recap about what’s there inside it. Of course sensor enabled touchpad on the side of the Google Glass which controls its activation and screening of the events, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, a camera, speakers, microphone, an advanced LED illuminated display, a voice synthesizer and controller which enables the device to operate on voice commands and a transducer near the ear to receive voice response from other sources. The device can also be activated by tilting your head 30[SUP]0[/SUP] upward (detected by a gyroscope inside) and say “O.K. Glass”. Then there are interesting apps with Google Glass such as Google+, Gmail, Google Maps and Google Now which provide it ultimate power of navigation and information exchange. Also, there are many 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] party apps which are active on Google Glass. Google with its Mirror API and Glass Development Kit has left the ground open for developers to innovate and build apps for different purposes such as exercise, cooking, sharing on social networks, face recognition, photo manipulation, travel, text translation etc.
Now talking about the usages of Google Glass, rather than its conventional usages (e.g. on the move hands-free voice command to take a picture, record an event, chat on video, attend a conference using Google Hangout,or even compose an e-mail by dictating the content, adding attachments and send automatically through the smartphone in your pocket) I would like to talk about the real value added services it can provide to our society. Imagine how prudent Google was to come up with the ergonomics of this hands-free device to be put on your temple like a spectacle. Your face with vital sense organs is the most powerful part of your body to make intelligent moves to operate a device like Google Glass hands-free. Now think of the operations or situations in which your hands are tied-up elsewhere and you need this device to work intelligently on your voice commands and your head movement. Here are some of those which are already being practiced and some which we can anticipate –
A surgeon while doing surgery can just ask for vital information from patient’s data stored in a computer, CT scan, cardiograph or ultrasound images, displayed on her screen. The live surgery procedure can be relayed to other specialist doctors at their desk for on-line review and quick suggestions. Of course live video recording and photographs of internal parts of organs (which is otherwise not possible) can be taken and specific information embedded with them for record purposes and further teaching to medical students.
It can provide much needed independence to disabled. The Google Glass can provide direction, guidance, information to a person on wheelchair without needing another person’s help. She can just put on her Google Glass and be on the move to explore the world at her own will and commands and not depend on anyone. It’s her world with Google Glass as a lifetime companion. Google Now has predictive software that can provide live information to her about the traffic and weather conditions of the place she wants to visit. If it’s a baseball game somewhere and traffic is bad, Google Now can provide the latest updates and scores about that to her at home.
A recent app added on Google Glass is SMARTSign which helps parents communicate with their hearing impaired children in great way through sign language. Of course, this technology can also be used to teach sign language to normal children.
Further, I guess, the Google Glass can also be of great help to blinds in guiding their way. She can just provide voice command for her destination and the Google Glass can keep guiding her through the way by conveying the messages into her ears through the transducers.
Although there has been criticism about the possibility of privacy invasion by Google Glass, for which I guess some solution should emerge, it’s a greatly convenient device for security, police and secret services personnel. A security officer can scan through a large crowd and pin point suspected culprits or terrorists at particular functions with such gatherings. A detective agent can investigate a crime spot which may be inside a building, a metro rail station, a hotel or hospital, from a distance. She can spot unusual activities at important places, such as airports, embassies etc.
Business personnel or state representatives while visiting different countries using different languages (spoken and written) can make great use of Google Glass. It can record the speech in different language, translate it into English within moments and flash on the screen for its wearer to understand the message and respond appropriately. The same process can repeat in the Google Glass of the other party, thus making communication easy and fast. Similarly the Google Glass can help in scanning and translating road signs, messages displayed in common areas such as airport and hotel and deciphering any alert signal.
Although you may never get lost with a GPS chip and Google Maps in your Google Glass, the Google Glass can help you in great way when you are in distress. Imagine you fell from a height while on an adventure trip or met with an accident, and you are not able to move your arms or legs, there is high probability that your tiny Google Glass is intact (it’s made with a strong frame). You can ask your Google Glass to record your location and voice message for help and send to police and friends.
I could go on writing more, but would like to stop here and leave it for the audience to guess and comment on more usage. After all, Google during its debut introduction of the Glass, asked from consumers about how they would use it. So, there could be more surprises in store!