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Google Glass, the wearable smart phone, is creating growth among app creators, competitors in the expanding field of wearable tech, and, eventually, in jobs at U.S. branch of Foxconn in California. Examples of Glass’s implications, uses, and possible advancements in quality of life can be found in headlines everywhere.
Much has been said concerning Google Glass, which Time Magazine called a computer built into an eyewear frame. In no short supply are critics of the pioneering technology, who feel that the invention will prove to be a violation of privacy rights and ethical etiquette, a dangerous distraction, and far too overpriced. Others believe that Glass has the opportunity to link people together and use immersive 21st century technology to improve quality of life for more than simply entertainment.
Whether for or against the eyewear and all that it portends, there is no shortage of fodder for review regarding the specs with photo and video capabilities, audible commands and the ability to run facial recognition software, to name a few device highlights. Particularly in the area of healthcare and medicine, adventures in point-of-view have become more “Google-able” as the public is exposed to Glass at work, and at play.
Google Glass does indeed get around, and this merely in the beta testing stages of development. The technology will no doubt create an overwhelming growth surge in POV adventures in the years following its release. From adult content, very in-depth blogging, and first-person, high-octane thrills such as sky diving or BMX racing, Google Glass promises to put viewers in the front seat for all of it.
Take an art exhibit in Miami, for example. Artist David Datuna of New York worked with the wearable technology to become the first artist to use Google Glass to incorporate photos, videos and sounds into interactive art. His exhibit, “Viewpoint of Billions,” is an American flag composed of more than 30,000 different newspaper clippings, photos of notable figures, and small video cameras which record the viewers who approach the artwork. Those who visited the exhibit were invited to wear a pair of Google Glasses, which recorded what users were seeing while the work recorded users seeing it. Images from Glass as well as the interactive artwork are constantly being updated and are available to view at the artist’s website.
Glass may create growth opportunities for city revenue once laws restricting the technology have developed further. In October of 2013, a California driver became the first person to be ticketed for driving with a monitor visible when she chose to wear her Glass about town. The ticket was thrown out when the San Diego judge determined that it was not feasible to determine beyond a shadow of a doubt whether or not the device was actually turned on.
While this incident marks the first time that Google Glass came under judicial scrutiny, it is not the only instance. Another alleged infraction, this time in Columbus, Ohio, caused a wearer of Glass technology to be ejected from a theater during a movie screening. This man was detained for several hours by the Homeland Security Investigations unit, held on suspicion of piracy. As of April 2014, the American Bar Association reports that seven states, including Delaware, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia and Wyoming, are considering the passage of laws that will limit the use of the wearable tech.
Google Glass does have the potential to compromise privacy, but it also does so much more. The smartphone-like frames, which may be outfitted with prescription lenses or sunglasses, allow the wearer to view emails, movies, take photos with the wink of an eye, or record audio and video at any time. While a light appears on the frame to indicate when the device is recording, the images seen by the viewer cannot also be seen by lookers-on; the small screen, to those not wearing the device, appears transparent.
Violations of civil liberties aside, the truly exciting implications for the potential growth that Google Glass may create is in the field of medicine. Already, doctors, surgeons and students are finding ways to use the new technology to bring patients improved care and attention from doctors worldwide.
In 2013, Google Glass made it possible for two surgeons to interact half a world away during surgery. This procedure, which is available to view at Google Glass Surgeon online, was broadcast and uploaded live to YouTube using the go-go-gadget frames.
In April 2014, a Google Glass software program designed to be used inside health care facilities allowed doctors to scan a Boston patient’s history in the blink of an eye. The patient, having mistakenly provided inaccurate information, received an improper and potentially fatal dosage of medication. Doctors cite Google Glass as the definitive tool that allowed the patient’s life to be spared in this instance.
Also in April, the Middle East’s first (and the U.S.’s third) virtually augmented surgery was completed with the help of Google Glass and VR software developer Vipaar. Doctors in Beirut shared surgery through their vantage point using Google Glass, while surgeons in New York were able to “draw”, using an iPad and Vipaar software, the location for exact incisions during surgery, offering vital assistance on a complicated procedure. The operation, cleft lip surgery on a 2 year-old patient, was a success largely thanks to Google’s innovative Glass technology. Doctors who took part in the surgery said that this technology will encourage sharing of expertise and education exponentially in the years to come.
Exciting developments in education also abound, thanks to Google Glass; the wearable technology is steadily creating new curriculums for students and educators. In the fall of 2014, for example, educators at the University of Southern California will offer a course entitled “Glass Journalism.” This class will explore the exciting possibilities in journalism via Google Glass. K-12 educators are excited about the opportunity for broadcasting lessons, sharing hands-on activities and unique classroom perspectives, virtual field trips and in-depth glimpses into how children are applying what they learn, from their own young vantage points.
Google Glass, voted one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2012, is creating just as much buzz and controversy as it has growth in 2014. However, rest assured that further developments concerning opportunities to contribute to Google Glass are on the rise. In fields ranging from analyzing the data and consumer response to the product, developing the base as well as the peripheral accessories for the device, customer service for sales, and so very many industry specific contributions to humanity (both positive and negative), the world has not seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Google’s wearable technology.
By Mariah Beckman
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