I have always been interested in wearable computers. Back in the late 1980’s, I had the privilege of working with MIT’s Media Lab. Mark Weiser coined the phrase “ubiquitous computing” around 1988, and both he and MIT have contributed significant research in this field. A wearable computer was one of their major projects at the time and after getting my Google Glass I am amazed at how far we have really come. This picture says 1000 words- but more on that in the days to come.
You may ask why I wanted to be a Glass tester? I am not the typical 20-something geek wanting to be the first on my block; I simply wanted to see it! What I had seen incubated, now almost 30 years ago, is real and I wanted to determine if we could envision commercial viability for Complí.
Wearable computers offer companies like Complí a new way to think about on-demand education and instruction. In the coming weeks, I will be developing and wire framing an APP for MyGlass to share with the broader community. I will share it here too.
Google Glass has a long way to go before it is ready for prime time. This feels much more like an Alpha rather than a Beta. Here are my complaints. First, the battery life is horrible and although the latest version of the Glass OS XR12 is supposed to deliver more functionality with the Apple devices, it hasn’t been released and there isn’t much expectation it will come anytime soon. Rather than wait, I bought a low-end Android tablet but it wasn’t compatible (who knew), forcing me to trade up to the high-end Google Nexus tablet; and thankfully, I was able to get the software installed and Glass communicating with me. You see, when you start using a wearable, you need to think about the knowledge transfer as a conversation. The units are pretty smart but not yet smart enough to read and interpret your eye movements well enough to anticipate the question in your head. Questions like “I think I am lost”, or “what does that word mean”, or better yet “cut the black wire first, not the red.” This can be especially helpful if you are part of the bomb squad.
Recently I attended a friend’s wedding and while I didn’t wear Glass to the ceremony, I did wear Glass to dinner and brunch functions. The first time I was with a group of friends and softly said, “Glass, take a picture,” things changed. Some people thought Glass was one of the coolest things they had seen, while others were really weirded out; but everyone wanted to try them on. I was impressed with the voice recognition and how Glass worked with many different voices.
You also need to communicate using verbal commands and then Glass responds softly in your ear reading a requested Wikipedia example or giving you turn-by-turn directions. Glass takes great photos and video (even with a very stealthy, simple tap to the temple) but overall the interface is sluggish and switching apps isn’t that easy.
Finally Google hasn’t made the learning curve very easy. If it wasn’t for social forums and folks posting to YouTube, I would have probably thrown up my hands, but it has only been a few days and I’m getting better at navigating Glass.
Bear with me as I embarrass my wife and my adult children while I learn more about Google Glass. If you have used Glass and have any suggestions, please let me know.