Google Glass Explorer Edition
|Also known as||Project Glass|
|Type||Augmented reality (AR), Optical head-mounted display (OHMD), Wearable technology, Wearable computer|
|Release date||Developers (US): February 2013
Consumers (US): 2014
|Introductory price||Explorer version: $1,500 USD
Consumer edition: " "close to the average smartphone" "
|Operating system||Android (4.4.2)|
|Power||Lithium Polymer battery (2.1 Wh)|
|CPU||OMAP 4430 SoC, dual-core|
|Memory||1GB RAM (682MB available to developers)|
|Storage||16 GB Flash total (12 GB of usable memory)|
|Display||Prism projector, 640×360 pixels (equivalent of a 25 in/64 cm screen from 8 ft/2.4 m away)|
|Sound||Bone conduction transducer|
|Input||Voice command through microphone, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor|
|Controller input||Touchpad, MyGlass phone app|
|Camera||Photos – 5 MP, videos – 720p|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth, micro USB|
|Any Bluetooth-capable phone; MyGlass companion app requires Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher or any iOS 7.0 or higher |
Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD). It was developed by Google with the mission of producing a mass-market ubiquitous computer. Google Glass displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format. Wearers communicate with the Internet via natural language voice commands.
Google provides four prescription frame choices for about $225.00 U.S. It is necessary to remove a small screw in order to move the Google Glass from one frame to another. Google entered in a partnership with eyewear company Luxottica, owners of the Ray-Ban, Oakley, and other brands, to offer additional frame designs. Google sold Google Glass in the USA from 15 April 2014 for a limited period of time for $1500.
The Google Glass prototype resembled standard eyeglasses with the lens replaced by a head-up display. In the summer of 2011, Google engineered a prototype that weighed 8 pounds (3,600 g); it is now lighter than the average pair of sunglasses.
In April 2013, the Explorer Edition was made available to testers and Google I/O developers in the United States for $1,500; a consumer version was made available in 2014 for "significantly less" than the Explorer Edition.
The product began testing 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 video.
- Touchpad: 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 photos and record 720p HD video. While video is recording, the screen stays on while it is doing so.
- Display: The Explorer version of Google Glass uses a Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS), field-sequential color, 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 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.
On April 15, 2013, Google released the Mirror API, allowing developers to start making apps for Glass. In the terms of service, it is stated that developers may not put ads in their apps or charge fees; a Google representative told The Verge that this might change in the future.
Many developers and companies have built applications for Glass, including news apps, facial recognition, exercise, photo manipulation, translation, and sharing to social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.
On May 16, 2013, Google announced the release of seven new apps, including reminders from Evernote, fashion news from Elle, and news alerts from CNN. Following Google's XE7 Glass Explorer Edition update in early July 2013, evidence of a "Glass Boutique", a store that will allow synchronization to Glass of Glassware and APKs, was noted.
Version XE8 made a debut for Google Glass on August 12, 2013. It brings an integrated video player with playback controls, the ability to post an update to Path, and lets users save notes to Evernote. Several other minute improvements include volume controls, improved voice recognition, and several new Google Now cards.
On November 19, 2013, Google unveiled its Glass Development Kit, showcasing a translation app Word Lens, a cooking app AllTheCooks, and an exercise app Strava among others as successful examples.
Google offers a companion Android and iOS app called MyGlass, which allows the user to configure and manage the device.
Other than the touchpad, Google Glass can be controlled using "voice actions". To activate Glass, wearers tilt their heads 30° upward (which can be altered for preference) or 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.
Awards and praise
After a visit to the University of Cambridge by Google's chairman Eric Schmidt in February 2013, Wolfson College professor John Naughton praised the Glass and compared it with the achievements of hardware and networking pioneer Douglas Engelbart. Naughton wrote that Engelbart believed that machines "should do what machines do best, thereby freeing up humans to do what they do best".
Lisa A. Goldstein, a freelance journalist who was born profoundly deaf, tested the product on behalf of people with disabilities and published a review on August 6, 2013. In her review, Goldstein states that Google Glass does not accommodate hearing aids and is not suitable for people who cannot understand speech. Goldstein also explained the limited options for customer support, as telephone contact was her only means of communication.
In December 2013, David Datuna became the first artist to incorporate Google Glass into a contemporary work of art. The artwork debuted at a private event at The New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida, US and was moved to the Miami Design District for the public debut. Over 1500 people used Google Glass to experience Datuna's American flag from his "Viewpoint of Billions" series.
The eyewear's functionality and minimalist appearance have been compared to Steve Mann's EyeTap, also known as "Glass" or "Digital Eye Glass", although Google Glass is a "Generation-1 Glass" compared to EyeTap, which is a "Generation-4 Glass". According to Mann, both devices affect both privacy and secrecy by introducing a two-sided surveillance and sousveillance.
Criticism and privacy concerns
Concerns have been raised by various sources regarding the intrusion of privacy, and the etiquette and ethics of using the device in public and recording people without their permission. There is controversy that Google Glass would violate privacy rights due to security problems and others.
Privacy advocates are concerned that people wearing such eyewear may be able to identify strangers in public using facial recognition, or surreptitiously record and broadcast private conversations. Many Privacy activists have reportedly ripped off Google glasses from the faces of those wearing them in public. Some companies in the U.S. have posted anti-Google Glass signs in their establishments. In July 2013, prior to the official release of the product, Stephen Balaban, co-founder of software company Lambda Labs, circumvented Google’s facial recognition app block by building his own, non-Google-approved operating system. Balaban then installed face-scanning Glassware that creates a summary of commonalities shared by the scanned person and the Glass wearer, such as mutual friends and interests. Additionally, Michael DiGiovanni created Winky, a program that allows a Google Glass user to take a photo with a wink of an eye, while Marc Rogers, a principal security researcher at Lookout, discovered that Glass can be hijacked if a user could be tricked into taking a picture of a malicious QR code.
Other concerns have been raised regarding legality of the Glass in a number of countries, particularly in Russia, Ukraine, and other post-USSR countries. In February 2013, a Google+ user noticed legal issues with Glass and posted in the Glass Explorers community about the issues, stating that the device may be illegal to use according to the current legislation in Russia and Ukraine, which prohibits use of spy gadgets that can record video, audio or take photographs in an inconspicuous manner.
Concerns were also raised in regard to the privacy and security of Glass users in the event that the device is stolen or lost, an issue that was raised by a US congressional committee. As part of its response to the governmental committee, Google stated in early July that is working on a locking system and raised awareness of the ability of users to remotely reset Glass from the web interface in the event of loss. Police in various States have also warned the Glass wearers to watch out for muggers and street robbers.
Several facilities have banned the use of Google Glass before its release to the general public, citing concerns over potential privacy-violating capabilities. Other facilities, such as Las Vegas casinos, banned Google Glass, citing their desire to comply with Nevada state law and common gaming regulations which ban the use of recording devices near gambling areas.
Concerns have also been raised on operating motor vehicles while wearing the device. On 31 July 2013 it was reported that driving while wearing Google Glass is 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 ticketed 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.
Several proofs of concept for Google Glass have been proposed in healthcare.
On June 20, 2013, Rafael J. Grossmann, MD, FACS, a Venezuelan surgeon practicing in the USA, was the first surgeon to ever demonstrate the use of Google Glass during a live surgical procedure.
In July 2013, Lucien Engelen commenced research on the usability and impact of Google Glass in the health care field. As of August 2013, Engelen, who is based at Singularity University and in Europe at Radboud University Medical Center, is the first healthcare professional in Europe to participate in the Glass Explorer program. His research on Google Glass (starting August 9, 2013) was conducted in operating rooms, ambulances, a trauma helicopter, general practice, and home care as well as the use in public transportation for visually or physically impaired. Research contained making pictures, videos streaming to other locations dictating operative log, having students watch the procedures and tele-consultation through Hangout. Engelen documented his findings in blogs, videos, pictures, on Twitter, and on Google+. and is still ongoing.
Key findings of his research included:
- The quality of pictures and video are usable for healthcare education, reference, and remote consultation.The camera needs to be tilted to different angle for most of the operative procedures
- Tele-consultation is possible—depending on the available bandwidth—during operative procedures.
- A stabilizer should be added to the video function to prevent choppy transmission when a surgeon looks to screens or colleagues.
- Battery life can be easily extended with the use of an external battery.
- Controlling the device and/or programs from another device is needed for some features because of sterile environment.
- Text-to-speech ("Take a Note" to Evernote) exhibited a correction rate of 60 percent, without the addition of a medical thesaurus.
- A protocol or checklist displayed on the screen of Glass can be helpful during procedures.
Dr. Phil Haslam and Dr. Sebastian Mafeld demonstrated the first concepts for Google Glass in the field of interventional radiology. They demonstrated the manner in which the concept of Google Glass could assist a liver biopsy and fistulaplasty, and the pair stated that Google Glass has the potential to improve patient safety, operator comfort, and procedure efficiency in the field of interventional radiology.
In June 2013, surgeon Dr. Rafael Grossmann was the first person to integrate Google Glass into the operating theater, when he wore the device during a PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) procedure. In August 2013, Google Glass was also used at Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University. Surgeon Dr. Christopher Kaeding used Google Glass to consult with a colleague in a distant part of Columbus, Ohio. A group of students at The Ohio State University College of Medicine also observed the operation on their laptop computers. Following the procedure, Kaeding stated, "To be honest, once we got into the surgery, I often forgot the device was there. It just seemed very intuitive and fit seamlessly."
On the 28th of October 2013, Dr. Marlies P. Schijven was the first surgeon to livestream a laparoscopic surgical procedure directly to YouTube. In that same procedure, she was also in direct contact with Dr. Rafael Grossmann, being at the Games for Health Conference Europe. By doing so, it was also the first surgical procedure worldwide in which two surgeons both wearing Google Glass were able to interact live.
The November 16, 2013, in Santiago de Chile, the maxillofacial team led by Dr. Antonio Marino conducted the first orthognathic surgery assisted with Google Glass in Latin America, interacting with them and working with simultaneous three-dimensional navigation. The surgical team was interviewed by the ADN radio medium and the LUN newspaper.
In January 2014, Indian Orthopedic Surgeon Selene G. Parekh conducted the foot and ankle surgery using Google Glass in Jaipur, which was broadcast live on Google website via the internet. The surgery was held during a three day annual Indo-US conference attended by a team of experts from the US, and co-organized by Dr Ashish Sharma. Sharma said Google Glass allows looking at an X-Ray or MRI without taking the eye off of the patient, and allows a doctor to communicate with a patient's family or friends during a procedure. "The image which the doctor sees through Google Glass will be broadcast on the internet. It's an amazing technology. Earlier, during surgeries, to show something to another doctor, we had to keep moving and the cameraman had to move as well to take different angles. During this, there are chances of infection. So in this technology, the image seen by the doctor using Google Glass will be seen by everyone throughout the world," he said.
In Australia, during January 2014, Melbourne tech startup Small World Social collaborated with the Australian Breastfeeding Association to create the first hands-free breastfeeding guidance application for new mothers. The application, named Breastfeeding #ThroughGlass allows mothers to nurse their baby while viewing instructions about common breastfeeding issues (latching on, posture etc.) or call a lactation consultant via a secure Google Hangout, who can view the issue through the mother's Google Glass camera. The product is currently being beta trialed in Melbourne.
In April 2014, doctors in Boston used Google Glass to save a patient's life by using a specialized software to scan through his history when it was revealed that patient had given incorrect information. This opened up the possibility for the device to become an integral part of medical care.
The first virtually augmented surgery in the Middle East was conducted in April 2014 at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) as part of the Global Smile Foundation (GSF) MENA mission in Lebanon in collaboration with the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at AUBMC. The virtually augmented surgery was carried out as part of a pilot program utilizing software by Vipaar, a remote video software company, which uses Google glasses to allow surgeons to communicate from thousands of miles away. The software was used during the surgical procedure on a two-and-a-half year old girl with a cleft lip. The Vipaar technology allowed Dr. Usama Hamdan, president of GSF MENA and Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah, head of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at AUBMC, to communicate with a Reconstructive Surgeon at New York University, Dr. Raj Vyas. Cleft Lip surgery on a young patient requires a tremendous amount of precision and that is why the surgery was selected to test the software. During the surgery, Vyas was able to see the surgery in the eyes of Hamdan and Abu-Sittah on his iPad in NYC. In turn, Vyas, who has previous experience with the Vipaar technology, virtually demonstrated where the incisions should be made. The surgical team in Beirut was able to see the surgical markings through the glasses as if they were on the patient’s face.
For the developer Explorer units:
- Android 4.0.4 and higher
- 640×360 Himax helloHX7309 LCoS display
- 5-megapixel camera, capable of 720p video recording
- Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
- 16GB storage (12 GB available)
- Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 SoC 1.2Ghz Dual(ARMv7)
- 682MB RAM 
- 3 axis gyroscope 
- 3 axis accelerometer 
- 3 axis magnetometer (compass)
- Ambient light sensing and proximity sensor 
- Bone conduction audio transducer
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.
- Android Wear
- Project Tango
- EyeTap – eye-mounted camera and head-up display (HUD)
- Golden-i – head-mounted computer
- Google Goggles – query-by-image search engine
- Looxcie – ear-mounted streaming video camera
- Oculus Rift – wide field of view virtual reality (VR) goggles with low latency head tracking
- SixthSense – wearable AR device
- Virtual retinal display – display technology that projects images directly onto the retina
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|Find more about Google Glass at Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Media from Commons|
- Google Glass – official site
- Google Glass on Google+
- September 2013 Vogue article
- Google Glass Apps Directory – first unofficial apps list
- Google Glass Helping to Save Patient’s Life