How can we access the Internet with even greater ease than we already do? Can we further simplify the process of snapping photos, connecting with loved ones, and planning our daily activities? With the development of “smart glasses,” which function much like today’s Smartphone, the collective answer to the above questions is “yes”. It will be possible to acquire information and integrate with others at any given moment and place.
Babak Parviz, an electrical engineer for the Google X Lab, first introduced “Project Glass” in April 2012 to make such services available to society through the use of an augmented reality head-mounted display, or HMD. This sophisticated device resembles a Smartphone in its presentation of information but offers one hands-free access to the Internet thru voice commands. A user can plug-in to the Internet, can utilize the device in a GPS or camera capacity, and can navigate thru information with the slightest tilt of the head. In spite of the complexity of the device, its design is surprisingly streamline- an aluminum strip with nose pads for adherence. The product has already been patented by Google and could be available to mainstream consumers sometime by early 2014 with a $1,500.00 price tag.
Diane Von Furstenberg, a renowned fashion and eyewear designer, experienced the wonders of a Glass prototype and soon became a powerful advocate of the project. In fact, she introduced Glass to New York Fashion Week during her Spring 2013 fashion show. The models, stylists, and crews involved in the show’s production wore Glass in order to share varying perspectives of fashion’s creative process.
Project Glass was also honored by Time Magazine as one of the “Best Inventions of the Year 2012”. In spite of the overwhelming support of this venture, still others fear that the product will only serve as another platform by which Google can expose its users to excess advertising. Although such advertisements are inevitable, a user will have to decide for himself if Glass can make enough of a positive impact on his life to justify its continued use.
Glass’s public debut will certainly be interesting. Will people be walking about with such futuristic glasses on constantly verbalizing commands? How user-friendly will the device be? Will Glass actually be a “smart” and practical addition to our lives? It will be a battle of Glass versus the Smartphone.