The optical head-mounted display device launched in April 2013 was the first of its kind and paved the way towards the age of augmented reality and ubiquitous computers. The concept behind the Google Glass described a display of information much like a smartphone, but based on voice commands in a hands-free format. Although it was ready for launch for a price of $1,500, it became available to a very limited portion of the public, most units being directed towards developers and businesses.
The device has a touchpad located on the side of the Glass that allows tangible access in the menus through swipes. It is also equipped with a 5 megapixel camera that will take photos just like any other device and even record video in up to 720p HD. The display is LED illuminated and only covers a very small portion of the lens, without hindering vision.
Its use, since release, did not record as much personal use as it had originally been estimated the Google Glass would attract. Most units and several applications of it have made their way into healthcare, airline travel, manufacturing, education and journalism.
In Boston, for example, employment of Google Glass by emergency room doctors has resulted in a more flexible, reliable and distraction-free way of dealing with their patients, without them having to focus on computers.
Virgin Atlantic airline has experimented with Google Glass to assist employees with boarding, checking in the passengers for their flights, give updates to passengers regarding flight information, guides for their flight’s destination or provide translations. It is stated that in the future – as Google continues to improve the device – it could serve more, in-depth purposes such as offer a more personalized experience for people flying by accessing customers’ records on preferences.
Several other experiments have been run on the utility of the device, such as facial recognition using police databases for law enforcement, safety and efficiency for field labor and even entertainment applications for live sports that offer replays on the devices, with customizable angles and information on players.
Due to the legal issues implicated in usage of Google Glass, the company recently announced it will be subject to a few changes which involve a switch to Intel CPUs. It is a strong hint of Google’s current decision to redirect their attention to making their device useful in professional environment over personal use, while the market for eyewear-mounted devices is still developing and not “there” yet.