Google Glass peers toward future of wearable computers

WASHINGTON – It’s a tiny, full-fledged computer, complete with dorky cachet.

Few technological gadgets have generated as much buzz as Google Glass – the still- in-development wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display.

While the frames have no lenses fitted to them, Ken Colburn of The Data Doctors revels in the power of the Glass, and its tiny screen near his eye.

“It’s 12 gigabytes of storage, a video camera, still camera, I can get text messages and reply verbally, I can get my emails read to me, I can get directions,” says Colburn.

“It’s pretty much everything you’d normally use your smartphone for. It just happens to be on your head,” says Colburn.

During development, Google is choosing tech-savvy influencers and developers to wear and talk about the device.

“I got to pay $1500 for the privilege,” jokes Colburn. “You have to go for training when you pick up your Glass.”

In a demonstration in the WTOP newsroom, Colburn says tapping on the frame of the glass lets users swipe through the choices that show up on the tiny screen in front of his eye.

Or, he can just talk.

“I say ‘OK, Glass. Take a picture,'” says Colburn. And a second later, whatever Colburn was looking at is captured in a photo.

Glass captures video and audio.

Colburn hears Glass’s responses and recorded audio using bone conduction, through a transducer that sits next to his ear.

As Colburn walks outside, “Google Glass is aware of my location, makes suggestion for restaurants, tells me about historical locations that might be nearby.”

After verbally asking Glass for directions to Starbucks, when Colburn turns his head the device’s GPS navigation renegotiates his location.

“The map itself will show up on my screen, and I’ll know exactly where to go,” says Colburn.

Colburn says Google and developers are looking for ways to integrate Glass technology into other daily chores.

Google is expected to release a less-expensive, consumer version of Glass in the next year.

Follow @WTOP and @WTOPtech on Twitter.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up