Updated: Aug 25, 2019
Augmented Reality has already gotten into our life in the forms of simulated experiment and education app, but Google is taking it several steps higher with Google Glass. Theoretically, with Google Glass, you are able to view social media feeds, text, Google Maps, as well as navigate with GPS and take photos. You will also get the latest updates while you are on the ground.
It’s truly what we called vision, and it’s absolutely possible given the fact that the Google’s co-founder, Sergey Brin has demo’ed the glass with skydivers and creatives. Currently the device is only available to some developers with the price tag of $1500, but expect other tech companies trying it out and building an affordable consumer version.
Google Glass is a brand of smart glasses—an optical head-mounted display designed in the shape of a pair of eyeglasses. It was developed by X (previously Google X) with the mission of producing a ubiquitous computer. Google Glass displayed information in a smartphone-like, hands-free format. Wearers communicated with the Internet via natural language voice commands.
Google started selling a prototype of Google Glass to qualified "Glass Explorers" in the US on April 15, 2013, for a limited period for $1,500, before it became available to the public on May 15, 2014. It had an integral 5 megapixel still/720p video camera. The headset received a great deal of criticism amid concerns that its use could violate existing privacy laws.
On January 15, 2015, Google announced that it would stop producing the Google Glass prototype, to be continued in 2017 tentatively. In July 2017, Google announced the Google Glass Enterprise Edition. In May 2019, Google announced the Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2.
Google Glass was developed by Google X, the facility within Google devoted to technological advancements such as driverless cars.
The Google Glass prototype resembled standard eyeglasses with the lens replaced by a head-up display. In mid-2011, Google engineered a prototype that weighed 8 pounds (3.6 kg); by 2013 they were lighter than the average pair of sunglasses.
In April 2013, the Explorer Edition was made available to Google I/O developers in the United States for $1,500.
The product was publicly announced in April 2012. Sergey Brin wore a prototype of the Glass to an April 5, 2012, Foundation Fighting Blindness event in San Francisco. In May 2012, Google demonstrated for the first time how Google Glass could be used to shoot videos.
Google provided four prescription frame choices for $225 and free with the purchase of any new Glass unit. Google entered in a partnership with the Italian eyewear company Luxottica, owners of the Ray-Ban, Oakley, and other brands, to offer additional frame designs. In June 2014, Nepal government adopted Google Glass for tackling poachers of wild animals and herbs of Chitwan International Park and other parks listed under World heritage sites. In January 2015, Google ended the beta period of Glass (the "Google Glass Explorer" program).
In early 2013, interested potential Glass users were invited to use a Twitter message, with hashtag ifihadglass, to qualify as an early user of the product. The qualifiers, dubbed "Glass Explorers" and numbering 8,000 individuals, were notified in March 2013, and were later invited to pay $1,500 and visit a Google office in Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco, to pick up their unit following "fitting" and training from Google Glass guides. On May 13, 2014, Google announced a move to a "more open beta", via its Google Plus page.
In February 2015, The New York Times reported that Google Glass was being redesigned by former Apple executive Tony Fadell, and that it would not be released until he deemed it to be "perfect".
In July 2017, it was announced that the second iteration, the Google Glass Enterprise Edition, would be released in the US for companies such as Boeing. Google Glass Enterprise Edition has already been successfully used by Dr. Ned Sahin to help children with autism learn social skills.
In May 2019, Google announced the Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2. Google also announced a partnership with Smith Optics to develop Glass-compatible safety frames.
A touchpad is located on the side of Google Glass, allowing users to control the device by swiping through a timeline-like interface displayed on the screen. Sliding backward shows current events, such as weather, and sliding forward shows past events, such as phone calls, photos, circle updates, etc.Camera: Google Glass has the ability to take 5 Mp photos and record 720p HD video. Glass Enterprise Edition 2 has an improved 8MP 80° FOV camera. Display: The Explorer version of Google Glass uses a liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS)(based on an LCoS chip from Himax), field-sequential color system, LED illuminated display. The display's LED illumination is first P-polarized and then shines through the in-coupling polarizing beam splitter (PBS) to the LCoS panel. The panel reflects the light and alters it to S-polarization at active pixel sensor sites. The in-coupling PBS then reflects the S-polarized areas of light at 45° through the out-coupling beam splitter to a collimating reflector at the other end. Finally, the out-coupling beam splitter (which is a partially reflecting mirror, not a polarizing beam splitter) reflects the collimated light another 45° and into the wearer's eye.
Other than the touchpad, Google Glass can be controlled using just "voice actions". To activate Glass, wearers tilt their heads 30° upward (which can be altered for preference) or simply tap the touchpad, and say "O.K., Glass." Once Glass is activated, wearers can say an action, such as "Take a picture", "Record a video", "Hangout with [person/Google+ circle]", "Google 'What year was Wikipedia founded?'", "Give me directions to the Eiffel Tower", and "Send a message to John" (many of these commands can be seen in a product video released in February 2013). For search results that are read back to the user, the voice response is relayed using bone conduction through a transducer that sits beside the ear, thereby rendering the sound almost inaudible to other people.
Concerns have also been raised on operating motor vehicles while wearing the device. On July 31, 2013 it was reported that driving while wearing Google Glass was likely to be banned in the UK, being deemed careless driving, therefore a fixed penalty offense, following a decision by the Department for Transport.
In the US, West Virginia state representative Gary G. Howell introduced an amendment in March 2013 to the state's law against texting while driving that would include bans against "using a wearable computer with head mounted display." In an interview, Howell stated, "The primary thing is a safety concern, it [the glass headset] could project text or video into your field of vision. I think there's a lot of potential for distraction."
In October 2013, a driver in California was ticketed for "driving with monitor visible to driver (Google Glass)" after being pulled over for speeding by a San Diego Police Department officer. The driver was reportedly the first to be fined for driving while wearing a Google Glass. While the judge noted that "Google Glass fell under 'the purview and intent' of the ban on driving with a monitor", the case was thrown out of court due to lack of proof the device was on at the time.
In November 2014, Sawyer et al., from the University of Central Florida and the US Air Force Research Laboratory, published the results of comparative study in a driving simulator. Subjects were asked to use either Google Glass or a smartphone-based messaging interface and were then interrupted with an emergency event. The Glass-delivered messages served to moderate but did not eliminate distracting cognitive demands. A potential passive cost to drivers merely wearing the Glass was also observed. Messaging using either device impaired driving as compared to driving without multi-tasking.
In February 2014, a woman wearing Google Glass claimed she was verbally and physically assaulted at a bar in San Francisco after a patron confronted her while she was showing off the device, allegedly leading a man accompanying her to physically retaliate. Witnesses suggested that patrons were upset over the possibility of being recorded.
Terms of service
Under the Google Glass terms of service for the Glass Explorer pre-public release program, it specifically states, "You may not resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person. If you resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person without Google's authorization, Google reserves the right to deactivate the device, and neither you nor the unauthorized person using the device will be entitled to any refund, product support, or product warranty." Wired commented on this policy of a company claiming ownership of its product after it had been sold, saying: "Welcome to the New World, one in which companies are retaining control of their products even after consumers purchase them." Others pointed out that Glass was not for public sale at all, but rather in private testing for selected developers, and that not allowing developers in a closed beta to sell to the public is not the same as banning consumers from reselling a publicly released device.