Ronnie05's Blog

Real Time, wearable – here and now computing courtesy Google Glasses

Posted in Applications and User Interfaces, Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on July 2, 2012

Real Time, wearable computing, here and now data elements – Google Glass is more than just a smart pair of glasses with an integrated heads-up display and a battery hidden inside the frame. Like Apple’s Siri, it’s technology with enormous potential. The idea is to deliver augmented reality, with information that’s directly relevant to your surroundings appearing in front of you whenever you need it. Google’s business is about making money from advertising, and glass marks the transition from screen to reality with the information layer literally juxtaposed. Many might worry that Google Glass is its attempt to monetize eyeballs quite literally, by blasting ads whenever the user look’s at something. While the initial videos and demos revolve n the photos aspect of the Glasses, the ability to monetize LAYAR through the Glasses is Google’s next billion $ gambit.

Even while wearable computing is not a new idea, but Google’s enormous bank account and can-do attitude means that Project Glass could well be the first product to do significant numbers.

Uncannily common in ad delivery, Glasses is not to be confused by Google Goggles which is an app that can search the web based on photos and scans. Google Glass is hardware doing much the same but on a more integrated scale. Google’s Project Glass glasses will use a transparent LCD or AMOLED display to put information in front of the user. It uses a camera and GPS for location sensing, and uses head movements for movements such as scroll and click on information, something that is apparently quite easy to master. Google Glasses will also use voice input and output. Glass will run Android, will include a small screen in front of the eye of the user and will have motion sensors, GPS and either 3G or 4G data connections. Glass is designed to be a stand-alone device rather than an Android phone peripheral. It should connect to a smartphone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth 4.0. It communicates directly with the cloud. There is also a front-facing camera and a flash, although it’s not a multi-megapixel monster, and the most recent prototype’s screen isn’t transparent.

Currently in a prototype stage, Google Glasses which is expected to be commercially launched in 2014, has key challenges- making a screen that works in darkness and in bright sunlight is tough – and mobile display technology doesn’t offer dynamic focusing, which reads the eye to deliver perfectly clear visuals. Current wearable displays have to be two feet away from your face, heads-up displays can be distracting, and there may be safety issues too. There are privacy implications too. Never mind your web history: Google Glass might record everything that the user is seeing and doing. Also there is this usability issue- Glasses will possibly not be useful in the rain (yet!)

It is expected that the Glasses are expected to cost around the price of current smartphones. Rumour indicate that Glasses may even end up in contact lenses and Google has in works a contact lens with embedded electronics.

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