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Windows into the Digital Soul

Windows into the Digital Soul

If you were waiting for someone to call it, this is it. The future is here, with the highly anticipated release of a first-person look at what it’s like to use Google GLASS.

Google Glass, usually stylized as GLASS, is a new, wearable technology that is currently being developed and brought to a select few of you by the Google X Lab. GLASS is an “augmented reality” HMD, or head mounted display, that responds to an array of different commands starting with “ OK, GLASS.” In a nutshell, it’s a tiny computer with a GPS chip built into the frame of a pair of glasses. GLASS takes on many smart phone functionalities that include recording video in 720p HD, taking pictures, checking weather and flight details, giving directions, and more. You can even share what you see live through a Google Hangout!

The Explorer edition, which comes in the colors Charcoal, Tangerine, Shale, Cotton, and Sky, uses wifi to receive data, although tethering it via Bluetooth to your Android device/iPhone in order for it to pick up on it’s data has been proven to work as well. The best part? All of this is absolutely hands free. GLASS is light and durable, with a minimalist design that makes it barely-there.

Of course, privacy concerns have risen around the use of GLASS, saying that it will dramatically change the way that we live, and what we consider privacy to be in any case. Mark Hurst on brings an interesting point. “From now on,” he states, “starting today, anywhere you go within range of a Google Glass device, everything you do could be recorded and uploaded to Google’s cloud, and stored there for the rest of your life.” Despite these implications, it was recognized by TIME Magazine as one of the Best Inventions of 2012. Whatever your views on privacy, the scale of this project is unabated.

To help gauge how people will use GLASS, they’ve launched The Explorer program, an early adopter initiative which allows consumers to test GLASS developer prototypes before it goes into mass production. You must live in the U.S. and be 18 or older to apply, and you still have to pay for the glasses (around $1500), but it could be worth it! Learn more about the application process here.

GLASS is probably one of Google’s most significant projects since… well, Google. There’s even been talk about contact lenses – making the wearer undetectable – but that’s a little far off. Then again, there’s Steve Mann who has lived with quasi-Google glasses (that he designed himself, by the way) for decades, and is an expert on augmented reality and similar technology, so we might have them in stores sooner than you think.

Google GLASS should be available to all consumers in 2014.

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