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Sometime in the first few months of 2013, people wearing strange-looking glasses will start to roam America’s streets. They will not be extras from the latest Terminator movie, but rather software developers and others who have been allowed to buy prototypes of a new product, dubbed Project Glass. The brainchild of Google, Glass looks like a rather bizarre pair of glasses, but is in fact a mini display screen mounted in a flexible frame that also incorporates a camera, a microphone and a computer.
This gizmo, which lets users see e-mails and other stuff on its screen and take photos and record videos using its camera, is the most ambitious initiative to date in the emerging field of wearable computing. The notion that people should be able to wear computers rather than carry them around in pockets or bags is not new: digital headsets that connect to mobile phones, wristbands that monitor pulse rates and other such gadgets have been around for a while. And novel, wireless-connected watches are being developed by young firms such as Pebble Technology and Meta Watch (Google has already filed a patent for a wristwatch design).
But in 2013 smart glasses that are voice- and touch-controlled will grab the headlines. Their development is being spurred by several technological trends, including the rapid miniaturisation of batteries, displays and sensors, the proliferation of superfast wireless connections and advances in “augmented reality” systems, which enable digital data to be overlaid elegantly on real-world images. None of this comes cheap: Google is charging developers the princely sum of $1,500 to get their hands on its eyewear. But the price is likely to fall by the time Glass goes on general sale, which the tech giant hopes will happen within a year of the prototype’s release.
Visionaries predict smart specs will be a big hit
Some visionaries predict smart specs will be a big hit. People will no longer need to pull out their phones to check e-mail or take photos; instead, they will be able to see and gather all sorts of data in the blink of an eye. That prospect sounds enticing. But the year ahead will also be marked by heated debates about the social impact of Glass and similar products, including their implications for public safety—should people be allowed to use smart glasses while driving, for instance?—and for privacy.
Tech firms will also have to convince people that their gizmos won’t make them look like freaks. “There’s this social aspect to adoption that’s always hard to predict,” says Tom Martin, a wearable-computing expert at Virginia Tech. Google has already had fashion models show off its specs on a catwalk in New York.
It won’t be the only company working hard to make smart eyewear sexy. Others are also eyeing the prospect of a big new market. Japan’s Olympus, for example, has unveiled its own digital goggles and Apple, which has a knack for designing stylish gadgets, has filed several patents that suggest it may be toying with the idea of an iGlass. Prepare for the rise of glass warfare.
LAST year Google whet the appetites of geeks everywhere when it announced that it had developed Google Glass, a pair of web-connected smart glasses that could take photos and videos, and display information gleaned from the internet. The firm said it would launch a public trial of the voice-controlled specs with a small group of developers early in 2013. On February 20th it announced that it now wants a broader group of people to join the developers peering into the future using its new technology.
The company has launched a website for folk who want to apply to test the Explorer trial version of its glasses and who are willing to cough up $1,500 for the privilege of having them. It has also posted a video (see below) that shows how the specs can be used in various situations, including navigating on a road and taking photos of memorable moments. Data and images are displayed on a tiny screen that appears at the top of a person’s field of vision. This is mounted in a flexible frame that also incorporates a camera, a microphone and a computer.
Although its new gadget is still in its early stages and has plenty of room for improvement (not least in the design of the bulky arm that houses its battery), Google is clearly hoping that a broader field test will help it to iron out imperfections faster, as well as stoke interest in the device. It says it is looking for a diverse group of guinea pigs willing to share their experiences with the gizmo via social media.
The web giant’s move is another sign that the nascent market for wearable technology is developing fast. Other companies such as Japan’s Olympus are also experimenting with smart goggles and there is much interesting work being done to shrink displays even further, as Babbage has noted elsewhere. There has also been plenty of action recently in the market for smart watches that link wirelessly to people’s smartphones. Rumours have been flying that Apple and Samsung are working on web-connected timepieces and Google has also filed a patent that suggests its Glass technology could be used on wrists too. Small start-ups such as Pebble are busily churning out smart watches as fast as they can. All of this is definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Everything You Need to Know About Google Glass
Funny looking? Sure. But Glass may just be a glimpse of things to come.
by Matt Clark
Google Glass means a lot of different things to many people. For some, the futuristic-looking headwear is the unavoidable next step for personal computing; a look into how technology will someday seamlessly integrate into our daily lives. And for others, Google Glass may appear like a concept without practical application, another idea like the Segway. Sure, wearing a computer on your face sounds cool, but who wants to wear it in public?
No matter which side of the issue you hold as truth, there’s no denying Google Glass has the chance to change the way the world thinks about communication. But what exactly is Google Glass? What do we know so far, and where might that aluminum strip and nose-bridge take us?
What’s Inside Google Glass?
Essentially, Glass’ main priority is to move the interactions we’ve grown accustom to with our smartphones and tablets to the hands-free convenience of a pair of glasses. An Android-powered head-mounted display resides just above the right eye, producing a small heads-up display image with information like travel directions and video messaging, all accessible by Siri-like voice commands. A 720p camera is embedded in the front of the device, allowing the wearer to take pictures or perhaps even stream live video.
As noted by The Verge, the plastic components of Google Glass will debut in five colors: gray, orange, black, white, and light blue. An “Explorer” edition of Glass will snap on to a pair of sunglasses, and there is talk of deals with prescription spectacle sellers Warby Parker to produce a Glass model for those of us with weaker vision. The device links up with built-in WiFi, and can tether via Android or iPhone.
Why Do We Need Google Glass?
Like any piece of new tech, the usefulness of Glass will probably vary from person to person. Primarily, Glass is a way to communicate hands-free, to keep in touch with our loved-ones and friends without the need to hold onto a smartphone. But the device is also a way to share experiences. A recent demo video from Google attempts to show “how it feels” to use Glass, and the implications of streaming a truly first-person perspective video out into the world are massive. Imagine experiencing a trip to a far-off land through the viewpoint of a buddy, or medical students observing a delicate surgery from their own homes.
Granted, all of this also requires your acceptance of looking a little weird. Not everyone is going to feel comfortable walking around town, resembling an extra from a crappy sci-fi film to passersby. Currently, it’s hard to determine if Google Glass will avoid becoming the next Bluetooth headset. Handy, yes, but also incredibly goofy.
When Can We Buy One…and How Much is It?
As of right now, Google is planning to release a consumer version of Glass by the end of 2013. The company has already started handing out developer models for $1,500, but there are indications the public launch could bring a more reasonable price-tag. And the price will make a huge difference: people will be more likely to strap a computer to their head if buying one doesn’t require a small loan.
But if you just can’t wait to try out Glass for yourself, Google is currently accepting public applications to test the device on Google+. Just write a post about what you would do with the device, using the #ifihadglass hashtag (but get moving, there’s only a day left).
How will Google Glass Change the Future?
Maybe Glass will mean the next step towards a future where wearable computing is the norm. Or maybe, it will take years before such devices grow into common usage. Regardless, Glass has the potential to completely alter the computing and mobile industries. After all, it wasn’t too many years ago when a touch-screen phone seemed crazy, or the Kindle’s e-ink seemed impossible, or self-driving cars were the stuff of fantasy. OK, the last one is still in the works at Google.
But the point is, we don’t yet know how Google Glass or a potential sea of imitations from other tech giants may force us to rethink how we interact with the world. The future is an exciting place, even if we all look like Geordie LaForge.
Google Glass: Score A Pair Through Google’s 50-Word Contest, Although It Will Come At A Hefty Price
Want to be one of the first people to try out Google’s rather exciting Glass project? The tech giant is kicking off a competition on Twitter and Google+ that will culminate on Feb. 27 and give some lucky winners the shot at owning a pair of Google’s Glasses.
All one has to do is explain what he or she would do with Google Glass if they had one. Applications must be 50 words or less, can include up to five pictures (or a short video), and need to include the tagline #ifihadglass in it. For full details, you can visit Google’s official page on how to win one.
“We’re looking for bold, creative individuals who want to join us and be a part of shaping the future of Glass. We’d love to make everyone an Explorer, but we’re starting off a bit smaller. We’re still in the early stages, and while we can’t promise everything will be perfect, we can promise it will be exciting,” writes Google.
Winning the competition isn’t the last step to owning this high-tech piece of machinery, however. If you are chosen after Feb. 27, Google will require you to put down $1,500 (plus tax) and fly out to the New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles to pick up the glasses in person. Not exactly the cheapest contest to win, but if you aren’t in the dev circle, this is the best shot at getting your hands on what is sure to become a cultural phenomenon when released (although it will certainly need a lighter price tag to catch on). Google’s press shots indicate the product will be available in a variety of colors, although there’s no indication you will get to pick your own design if you win.
To help generate some interest, Google has also released a new video showcasing Google Glass. Titled “How It Feels [through Glass],” the video showcases a series of rather action-drive moments (that one is supposed to assume is part of day-to-day life) from the vantage point of someone wearing the Glasses.
ستدعم نظارات “جوجل” الذكية ميزة الربط عبر البلوتوث بهواتف “آيفون” بالإضافة إلى الهواتف العاملة بنظام تشغيلها “أندرويد”.
وستوفر تلك الميزة للمستخدم إمكانية استخدام بعض مزايا الهاتف الذكي عبر النظارة، وذلك حسب ما أوضحه تقرير لموقع “The Verge” الذي أجرى تجربة لإحدى تلك النظارات.
وكانت “جوجل” أطلقت موقع لنظارتها الذكية ليستطيع المستخدم التعرف أكثر على مزاياها ووظائفها، حيث تستطيع تلك النظارات على سبيل المثال التقاط الصور وتسجيل مقاطع الفيديو وتصفح الإنترنت والملاحة عبر الخرائط.
وتقوم النظارة بتصفح الإنترنت عبر الاتصال بشبكات “الواي فاي” التي تدعمها، كما تدعم النظارة الاتصال بالإنترنت عبر شبكات اتصالات الجيل الثالث والجيل الرابع.
وأشار تقرير الموقع إلى مدى سهولة استخدام النظارة للقيام بوظائفها المختلفة، حيث يقوم المستخدم بإيقاظ النظارة وتهيئها للاستجابة للأوامر الصوتية عبر أمر “Ok Glass” أو النظر بشكل أفقي ثم الضغط على زر صغير موجود في النظارة.
يذكر أن “جوجل” لم تطرح النظارة تجارياً بعد، حيث وفرتها الشركة لبعض المطورين فقط وبسعر 1500 دولار لضمان عدم انتشارها، إلا أن تقارير أشارت إلى نية الشركة لطرح النظارة قبل نهاية العام الجاري وبسعر موازي لأسعار الهواتف الذكية.
دعت وزارة الخارجية الأمريكية المعارضة المصرية متمثلة فى جبهة الإنقاذ الوطنى إلى تغيير قرارها القاضى بعدم المشاركة فى الانتخابات البرلمانية فى مصر.
وقال الناطق باسم الخارجية إدجار فاسكويز إن الولايات المتحدة تشجع جميع الأحزاب المصرية والمرشحين المحتملين إلى المشاركة فى الانتخابات البرلمانية والتى من
المفترض أن تبدأ فى أبريل القادم، موضّحًا أن الانتخابات تمثل فرصة للمصريين لإسماع أصواتهم.
وكانت جبهة الإنقاذ الوطنى قد أعلنت اليوم الثلاثاء عن مقاطعتها للانتخابات البرلمانية المقبلة.
وتنظر واشنطن إلى الانتخابات البرلمانية القادمة باعتبارها مرحلة هامة فى التحول الديمقراطى فى مصر.
وأضاف فاسكويز إنه من الضرورى للأحزاب السياسية فى مصر أن تشارك فى الانتخابات حتى يمكن للمصريين اختيار ممثليهم من نطاق كبير من المواقف السياسية.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The State Department wants Egypt’s opposition to reverse its declared boycott of upcoming parliamentary elections.
Spokesman Edgar Vasquez says the U.S. is encouraging all Egyptian parties and potential candidates to compete in the staggered vote, which starts in April. He says the elections offer Egyptians an opportunity to have their voices heard.
The main opposition group, the liberal and secular National Salvation Front, declared Tuesday it would boycott the elections. The announcement is likely to add to Egypt’s political instability.
Washington sees the parliamentary votes as an important milestone in Egypt’s democratic transition.
Vasquez said Tuesday it was “critical” for Egyptian parties to take part so that Egyptians can select representatives from a broad range of political positions