THE BIG IDEA: The Return of Google Glass

Google glass in open gift boxRemember Google Glass, the highly experimental, highly controversial eye-gear that looks like something straight out of Star Trek. (See “The Game” from Season 5 of Star Trek: The Next Generation, if you want to see commentary on both this kind of technology as well as commentary on gaming. It’s a fun episode.) Synonymous with “Wearable Tech” Glass promised a future seen only in science fiction: personal heads-up displays (or HUDs) for its users—sorry, wearers. Since its introduction in 2012, Glass won attention for its groundbreaking technology and application; but since then, popularity for the technology waned. Restaurant and movie theatre bans and certain infamous endorsements did little to raise its popularity; and then there was these three factors:

  • The cost. Let’s see, I can either buy a new computer, or get a pair of Glass.
  • The aesthetic. Seriously, I look like I feel. Awkward, but empowered.
  • Privacy. When wearing Glass, I’m sharing my experience with the world…and that doesn’t need your consent.

It also didn’t help the image of Glass as those wearing the tech were referred to as glass-holes. Safe assumption that Google Glass was failed social experiment

Does this mean that Google Glass is done and down for the count? Not by a longshot. Google stepped back from Glass on a consumer level, and looked at its application on a corporate level, and released Google Glass 2.0 to target companies with opportunities to use Glass in their production line. Boeing, GE, and DHL are now incorporating the Google Glass Enterprise Edition or Glass EE.

Glass EE offers the Glass once available to the public a major upgrade. Glass EE now offers better camera resolution, capturing images and video with an on-board 8 megapixel camera as opposed to the 5 megapixel camera initially installed. This model has better battery life, faster Wi-Fi and processor, and – much to the delight of many critics of the original Glass – comes with a red light in the frame that indicates when you are recoding. Glass EE also comes with Glass Pod, a detachable unit that cane easily pop off the Glass frames and snap on another pair of glasses. So Google Glass has become even more portable.

undefinedSo how exactly is this working for these companies? How Glass EE benefits these corporations happens on the production line. Someone is in a production line, looking at something that seems off. The line associate says “Hey, Google Glass, give me the page of the instruction manual that covers this particular item.” In the HUD, the requested instruction page appears to the side with the item still in the associate’s field of view. Line techs no longer need to stop work, find a reference manual, and look something up.

While Google may have landed short with the public, Glass EE for businesses is extremely powerful. There are potential applications for glass EE in the medical field, law enforcement, and other industries where you might have someone locally with Google Glass interviewing or investigating a situation while remotely another associate networked in on the Glass EE’s feed is present, offering consultation or command orders. The possibilities are emerging in this new rollout.

Perhaps, Glass EE is not the final gasp for breath. Perhaps it is glass catching a second wind.



shurtz.jpgA research physicist who has become an entrepreneur and educational leader, and an expert on competency-based education, critical thinking in the classroom, curriculum development, and education management, Dr. Richard Shurtz is the president and chief executive officer of Stratford University. He has published over 30 technical publications, holds 15 patents, and is host of the weekly radio show, Tech Talk. A noted expert on competency-based education, Dr. Shurtz has conducted numerous workshops and seminars for educators in Jamaica, Egypt, India, and China, and has established academic partnerships in China, India, Sri Lanka, Kurdistan, Malaysia, and Canada.