Yet, it’s as if it already has. You may like or dislike these lens-less glasses that browse the web, take pictures and videos and replace car sat-nav systems, and wonder whether the world we are building is actually one we truly want to live in. Yet one thing is clear already – this is a product that we will certainly have to confront ourselves with and that it is likely to completely change the way we think of wearable computers.

Wearable computers have been around for decades. But forget about MIT’s high-tech models, perfectly suited for geeks but hardly attractive. With Glass, Google cleverly turned the matter around and worked on developing a visually attractive product. Glass (always singular) is sleek and weighs less than an average pair of sunglasses. Its tiny screen, located at the top right-hand side of the set, is coloured. The voice-activation system is futuristic (only in people’s minds since the technologies have been around for ages) and the touch interface on the side bar is extremely unobtrusive.

Only hours after Sergey Brin appeared for the first time in public with the early prototype of Glass in April 2012, the web was going wild with pictures of Lady Gaga, President Obama, Prince William and Kate Middleton wearing them. They were all bogus images, of course, artfully Photoshopped by some Google enthusiast. But they went viral.

Then there was the highly celebrated Diane von Fürstenberg catwalk during the New York Fashion Week last September. Sergey Brin was in the front row with Anna Wintour from Vogue. His spectacles were more photographed and talked about than von Fürstenberg’s garments, the American fashion designer recording the whole show with Google Glass and posting it online later.

Google Glass was distributed to a restricted group of developers only last February, yet exciting new apps are being invented by the minute. Winky – created by Michael DiGiovanni, a technology leader at Isobar – is an app that allows you to take pictures by simply winking.

“The display is just outside your normal range of vision,” DiGiovanni stated when speaking to The Guardian, “so that you have to roll your eyes upwards – it sits on the top right. I turned it on by nods. You can still wear them while driving and know that you are not going to be interrupted by something popping up in your view.”

The short battery life and the steep price (approximately $1500) do not yet make it a mass-market product, he says, but he does see a lot of potential in professional areas: “Anywhere you could use an extra hand, or have extra data in front of your eyes.” Such as in a restaurant, for instance, or a shop. And he is particularly excited about the GPS and mapping system. When driving, he found it much easier and less distracting than looking at the sat-nav on the dashboard.

As always happens with new technologies, concerns are also rising. These are mainly related to privacy, in relation to the fact that one could record videos in public without anyone knowing, as well as the possibility of loading facial recognition software into the device.

Bans against the use of Google Glass have already been posted in the buildings of many American companies. But it all sounds as though even such negative opinions might be part of an overall orchestrated communication – if people ban them before they even exist on the market, they obviously expect them to be a major hit!

Only time will tell whether they are right. But whatever the acceptance of Google Glass will be, one thing is for sure – man and machine have never been so close to each other. And, one has to admit, wearable computing has never looked so cool.

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Design or decline

Successful manufacturing companies, irrespective of geography or circumstance, are led by people who can identify and exploit commercial opportunities using design as a key strategy.

Simcoe heads to the US

Simcoe heads to the US

Since commencing his career with Holden as a designer in 1983, Michael Simcoe has been involved in every major vehicle design program Holden has undertaken.

Share, Work
Making drugs hurt less and work better

Making drugs hurt less and work better

With a current global drug delivery market of US$50 billion annually, expected to grow to US$100 billion by 2005, a more effective, less painful means of delivering drugs transdermally sounds too good an investment to be true.


Measuring design value

Professor Dr Peter Zec, president of red dot, and Burkhard Jacob, head of the red dot institute for advanced design studies, have released a book, titled Design Value – A strategy for business success.

Share, Work