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Looking through the Glass Is Google’s Project Glass a gimmick or a glimpse into the future?

By SHEA CONNER St. Joseph News-Press

When Google co-founder Sergey Brin unveiled a pair of glasses at the tech giant’s I/O presentation last month, they weren’t just any pair of frames. During the presentation, skydivers and mountain bikers who were wearing these glasses live-streamed their point of view to a Google+ Hangout, which also was shown live for those in attendance. Although The New York Times reported about Project Glass in April — and models of the glasses had appeared at a few events — the I/O presentation fi nally showed off some of the capabilities of what many consider to be Google’s most interesting work in progress. This glimpse at Project Glass sent bloggers and the tech-obsessed on two tangents. The fi rst group appeared excited about the potential of Project Glass. Camp two, however, wasn’t so happy. Tons of them cried gimmickry, while others worried that Google simply wanted to plaster ads on eyeballs all over the world. Before you decide what team you’re on, let’s take a closer look at Project Glass.

and can-do attitude means that Project Glass could very well become the fi rst wearable computing product to make a significant sales dent.

How does Project Glass work?

According to Seth Weintraub, Google’s 24/7 blogger for Fortune magazine, the glasses likely will use a transparent LCD or AMOLED display to bring up information in front of your eyes. The glasses will boast a GPS system and a camera. Like Apple’s Siri, Google’s glasses also will utilize voice input and output. Owners can scroll and click on information by tilting their heads, something that Google claims will be quite easy to master. The New York Times has reported that the glasses also will run Android, have motion sensors and either 3G or 4G data connections. Mr. Weintraub says that the glasses are designed to be a standalone device rather than an Android phone accessory. While Project Glass can connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, “it communicates directly with the cloud,” he says.

What will I be able to do with the glasses?

According to Google’s own Project Glass video, users will be able fi nd their Project Glass is an attempt to make way around using satellite navigation, wearable computing mainstream. It’s take and share photographs and use the effectively a pair of “smart-glasses” Internet as they normally would. The with an integrated display in the lens idea, however, is that Google’s glasses and a battery hidden inside the frame. will deliver an augmented reality, with ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO Wearable computing is not a new idea. information that’s directly relevant to Google co-founder Sergey Brin talks on the phone as he wears Google’s new Internet-connected glasses at After all, technology developers have one’s surroundings appearing in front the Google I/O conference in San Francisco on June 27. been working on head-mounted displays of them whenever they need it. For and wrist computers for decades. But Google’s enormous fi nancial backing PLEASE SEE GLASSES/Page 2

What is Google’s Project Glass?

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August 1-8, 2012

Google glasses may give glimpse of future CONTINUED FROM page AA1 example, your glasses might tell you where the nearest decent restaurant is, book your table, invite your friends and show you how to get there. No more digging for your smartphone — it’ll all be right there before your eyes. Google also is developing a feature on the glasses that will offer text alerts for hearing-impaired users when something dangerous is approaching like an automobile. Specifically taking direction and intensity into account within the incoming audio data, the display on the glasses would show directional arrows and flashing lights that increase in intensity when a loud noise approaches the user. So, when a hearing-impaired person is crossing the street, the glasses would indicate if a nearby car is honking and point the user in the direction of the noisy vehicle. What information peo-

of Project Glass stirred up tons of excitement, many engineers and scientists didn’t feel the experience Google portrayed was plausible. Wired magazine spoke to Blair MacIntyre, director of the Augmented Environments Lab at Georgia Tech, who said “you could not do (augmented reality) with a display like this.” MIT Media Lab researcher Pranav Mistry agreed, telling Wired that “the small screen seen in the photos cannot give the experience the video is showing.” There are several enCOURTESY PHOTO/Google gineering issues that This photo from Google displays the point of view one would have while wearing Google’s new glasses. Google’s team will have “In addition to having What technological hurdles to work through. Namely, ple will use Project Glass for remains to be seen. a superstar team of sci- does Project Glass face? While the unveiling But, like Siri, it’s a tech- entists who specialize in PLEASE SEE GLASSES/Page AA3 (computing), nology with enormous po- wearable they also have the needed tential. OFF ANY PURCHASE data elements, including Expires 08-31-12 Min. Purchase $10 (LIMIT ONE) Is this a joke? Google Maps,” says MiIt’s absolutely not a chael Liebhold, wearable joke. In fact, The New computing specialist and York Times reported that senior researcher for InFLAGS • PENNANTS • BUTTONS Google has assigned some stitute For The Future in SIGNS • JEWELRY • STICKERS of its very best people to San Francisco. the project. LICENSE PLATES • MOUSE PADS

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August 1-8, 2012

Glasses from Google connect to the web CONTINUED FROM page 2

that Project Glass could monetize your eyeballs by blasting you with ads. For example, Google Coupons — which hasn’t gained much traction — would certainly benefit, notes PC World. That brings us to another issue: Heads-up displays could be a poWhat negatives could come tential safety hazard. Until Google ships its from Project Glass? self-driving car, the If you think pop-ups thought of drivers beare annoying in a Web ing distracted by their browser, imagine them glasses is fairly terrifyshooting up in front of ing. your face. Google makes Some conspiracy themillions from adverorists also claim that tising, and many are Project Glass will record rightfully concerned everything you see and creating a screen that works in darkness as well as bright sunlight and crafting a mobile display technology with dynamic focusing, which reads a person’s eye to deliver unique, perfectly clear visuals.

do. It’s certainly possible. The glasses will have front-facing cameras that Google could access at any moment. “Without having tried a prototype on ourselves, they seem as though they would be vaguely intrusive if not downright creepy,” says Brian Braiker, news editor for The Guardian U.S. Oh, and look out for bullies. These glasses are pretty dorky-looking.

I already wear glasses. Will Google’s glasses work for me?

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Yes. Google is experimenting with designs that will fit over existing glasses. At some point, Project Glass could make its way to contact lenses as well. Babak Parviz, a professor of bionanotechnology at the University of Washington and a member of Google’s Project Glass team, recently built a contact lens with embedded electronics.

When will these glasses be How much will the glasses released? cost? Project Glass will be released to the public in 2014 at the earliest. According to Engadget. com and several other technology news sources, developers will get a hold of the “explorer edition” units at some point in 2013, with a “broad consumer offering” arriving a year later.

No one’s sure yet. However, The New York Times interviewed several Google employees who wished to remain anonymous. These folks claimed the glasses would “cost around the price of current smartphones.” Shea Conner can be reached at shea.conner@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @stjoelivedot-

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August 1-8, 2012

Starting again: Former fast food worker finds new passion By JENNIFER GORDON |

“I just got tired of working minimum-wage jobs,” he says. “I wanted to do something that was going Richard Miller didn’t want to flip to be around for a while, no matter burgers anymore. what.” The St. Joseph resident spent He wanted to pursue a line of most of his 20s and early 30s bounc- work people appreciated, someing from job to job. He moved to Ar- thing in the service industry. So, izona and worked in law enforce- for the first time since he dropped ment for a while and then moved out at age 17, Mr. Miller went back back to St. Joseph and worked for to school. He got his GED two days a spell at a Burger King. after his birthday in January 2011. A nervous breakdown prompted He enrolled at Hillyard Technical him to set his sights on a new ca- Center shortly after in its Heating, reer. Ventilation, Air Conditioning and

St. Joseph News-Press

Cooling (HVAC) program. The transition required some sacrifices, most notably to Mr. Miller’s sleep schedule. For six months, Mr. Miller worked overnight from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. and went to school from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Finding time to sleep during the day was difficult; if he was lucky, he’d get in three hours of sleep in the afternoon. “I was living on caffeine pills and coffee,” he says. His schedule also made it more

difficult to see friends and family. Still, he considers going back to school easy because he knew it was his way to do something new with his career. He also took to the subject matter. In the HVAC program, he found that wiring came naturally to him. He helped out the other students in his class. Shortly after graduation, he started work at Keys Refrigeration Supply. He likes the new work, he says, because his customers are always happy to get air conditioning.

Mr. Miller also appreciates his regular work week schedule, which no longer includes nights or weekends. He advises anyone considering whether to change careers to give it a try. “Throw your doubts out the window and just do it,” he says. “If you really want to out there and learn a new trade, you just have to do it.” Jennifer Gordon can be reached at jennifer.gordon@newspressnow.com. Follow her on Twitter: @jjgordon.

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