Wearable tech is the next wave of innovation. Google Glass, the poster boy for wearable tech, is by far the closest we can get to a sci-fi future.
At least, that’s what we thought till we spoke to an app developer who has been playing around with the eyepiece.
Ok Glass, let’s go!
Stop. It’s not that simple. There’s a list of basic voice commands, and you’ll have to follow them strictly. That is, unless you’re an app developer like Stream Media CEO Chua Zi Yong.
Chua and a handful of developers from around the globe were lucky enough to get their hands on a Google Glass set. Only to realise that for Glass to work properly with the apps they're developing, they need to experiment and send voice commands for the Google Glass team to review.
In short, Google is heavily reliant on external developers like Chua to suss out a natural interaction between user and Glass.
So, that means there’s quite a few kinks to work out with voice commands
Fortunately, it doesn’t take long for Chua to notice that an unrecognised voice command is required and has to be submitted to Google. The minute he conceptualises and decides how an app reacts to a user, it also tells him the most natural voice command needed. Numerous requests to add voice commands are sent to the Google Glass team daily, which gets reviewed and added in the next firmware update.
Wait, so there’s going to be a million and one voice commands to memorise?
Far from that. It shouldn’t take a teeny bit of brain power to instinctively tell Glass what to do. Google aims to keep voice commands simple by combining those developer submitted commands that share a common function and streamlining the commands.
Phew, that’s a relief. Wait, is it going to throw a fit like Siri when it can’t recognise an accent?
Not so. Chua mentioned that Glass accurately picked up his requests, even with his Singaporean accent. Heck, we had a go at it and it was able to tell us what’s the answer to life, the universe and everything.
It teaches? Has it become sentient? Should we be worried?
No. Well, not yet. Though Glass can function on its own when it’s connected to a Wi-Fi network, it works better when it links with an Android device and interacts with Glass-compliant apps. Chua has integrated Glass with an app that brings up specific verses from the Bible when he commands Glass to teach him about family. Doing that requires him to utter voice commands that trigger the app and associate keywords that’ll search for specific verses within the app.
It records with the camera and microphone, doesn’t it?
More than that, said Chua. He demonstrated a voice recording app he developed and told Glass to record a conversation with two voice commands. Is it possible to upload the voice note to Evernote or Dropbox using Glass? Yes, though it’ll require some minor tweaking of the app to achieve that functionality.
Surely, it can do more than record and read messages?
Chua is currently developing another app that uses Glass’ recognition function to scan brands and logos, providing information about the company to the user. Top secret business, he said, so he can’t reveal who he's developing the app for. We'd ask, but we figured he would have to kill us for saying too much.
Woah, woah, hold on. Glass can recognise logos. What’s going to stop it from recognising me and giving my info out?
Google has a strict policy when it comes to facial recognition with Glass, banning apps that have such features. Don't worry, it’s not going to invade your privacy. That said, Chua shares our sentiment - anything that shouldn’t be online, shouldn’t be uploaded. “Google cannot generate info out of nothing,” he said.
That doesn’t mean it won’t make someone any less of a Glasshole
On the contrary, Chua feels like a zoo exhibit when he wears Glass. “People are either excited or nervous when they see it,” he said. He hears people whispering and pointing at him when he dons the eyepiece. Instead of him taking a photo with Glass, he gets snapped by others when he wears it. “Glass is like the new class divide,” said Chua.
Glass doesn’t sound so fun after all. So why would you still use it in your daily routine?
You don’t. Chua concedes that Glass is more suited for enterprise use rather than consumers at this development stage. Still, the father of one uses it to snap pictures and take videos while he shaves his kid’s hair.
There must be some other uses for Glass
It might sound ironic, but Glass is a great way to aid the visually impaired. Chua proposed how its camera can scan and recognise locations or icons, search for the closest match and repeat the information via its bone conduction transducer.
Ok, sign us up for Glass
Sorry, Glass is available only in the United States, and to even get a chance to pay US$1500 for the intelligent eyewear, you’ll have to sign up and be invited into the exclusive Explorer program.