googleglass Archive

Tech news site The Information is reporting that Google is developing three successors to Google Glass, to be released in 2016.

Notably, one of those three models is Glass-less, so to speak. It will drop the screen in favor of exclusively audio output. Moreover, the audio will be delivered by bone conduction, as was the case with the original Google Glass.

Although Google continues to develop a 2nd generation screened version for the enterprise market, the audio-centric version, which is presumably targeting the sports market, may overcome the primary challenge that blocked Google Glass from more widespread adoption. Specifically, a small and unobtrusive bone conduction audio device may allow for a connected experience without putting barriers between individuals who are face-to-face.

With all wearable devices, I am concerned about sending signals to other people that I’m distracted or otherwise not paying full attention to someone. Regularly I found myself checking alerts on my Pebble Watch only to realize it looked like I was checking my watch as if I was bored with a conversation or had a conflict. This is less prominent with the Apple Watch, in my experience, because it handles multiple missed alerts more

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On Friday the WSJ reported that Google is actively working on both a smartwatch and a game console. Although a Samsung-developed Android watch has been in the pipeline for a while now, it’s a logical product initiative for Google, and one that I suspect they wish they’d prioritized over Glass.

The era of the smartwatch is upon us, while the era of marveling over the possibility of smart HUDs is perhaps beginning. Glass was always a bright and shiny thing that staked Google well ahead of the competition in terms of ambition and innovative creativity, but it is little more than a decorative jewel in its crown. The fact that a year will pass between its highly overpriced beta to actual market speaks to the fact that the technology is not ready. In the meantime, smartwatches exist and have proven popular with the common folk.

Watches are easy: they are unobtrusive yet convenient, appropriately sized screens can fit a reasonably large amount of information (see the iPod Nano), the device can be produced in a variety of fashions to suit individuals’ tastes, and today’s style prefers large watches anyway (at least for men). Eye

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Google has revealed through regulatory filings that Google Glass will incorporate bone conduction audio output in what may be the biggest mass market development for the technology ever, but it will not be the first. Bone conduction audio has existing in some form for almost 100 years, and has a long history of commercialization in both the medical and consumer audio markets, but to date it is a niche technology with adoption concentrated in narrow domains.

Has the time for bone conduction audio for the mass market finally arrived? Probably not yet, but we’re close.

The Origins of Bone Conduction Audio

The general public’s unfamiliarity with bone conduction audio belies its age and the advanced state of the technology’s development. Historically, bone conduction audio has been widely employed as a hearing aid technology – by transmitting sound into the skull audio signals may bypass a defective middle ear, allowing many hearing-impaired or otherwise deaf individuals to hear, even where traditional amplication-style hearing aids are ineffective. A bone conduction hearing aid was first described by Hugo Gernsback in 1923, though the first relevant patent I have located was issued in 1941. Since that time, the technology has improved with lighter

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Google Glass is a head-mounted display that supports augmented reality output; sends and receives calls, txt messages and e-mails; gives directions; serves as a headphone and is capable of recording and playing back video.

The first six consumers who will receive a Glass were announced yesterday morning, followed by 8,000 others. They won the opportunity to buy a Glass (for $1,500) by saying what they would do with it on Twitter (tag #ifihadglass). Of those first six, only one is proposing to use Glass in a meaningful way for which it uniquely-suited versus existing, much cheaper tech. Max Wood is proposing to use Glass to stream building layouts, objectives, and orders to fire fighters, and capture their streams for incident commanders. That would make use of the head-mounted display (HMD) overlays, audio output, wireless communication, and video-capture features – hopefully saving lives through it. Four of the others are proposing to use Glass exclusively as a poor man’s (read: rich man’s for $1,500) POV camcorder or VR-display. The last is proposing to use it as a voice-transcribing platform.

Lucky human camcorder #1: Wants to give a first-person view of life

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It may not be edgy, but I, like many others on the bleeding edge, am waiting with bated breath for the release of Thalmic Labs’ Myo Armband expected to ship later this year. Although I generally avoid buying products 6-9 months before they’ll be in my hot little hands, the prospect of remotely controlling a tablet, stereo, or household device with a subtle gesture was too much to pass up on. One pre-order later, I’m left biding my time before a surge of tech-powered midi-chlorians enter my veins.

Unlike Field of Dreams, often times awesome tech is built and no one comes – so the question I’m left pondering is who will use it, who will develop for it, and will it just be me and my 15,000 other geeks $150-poorer while waving our hands in the air with nary an app to hear us. Having some Objective C and other development experience under my belt I’m looking forward to building some of my own software to make use of the device, but I’m still confronted with the what and why of the device. What I want most is to solve real problems, rather than tear down strawmen with my $150

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