Google Glass gets a test drive at N.H. event

‘Pass the Glass’ focused on the untapped potential of the high-tech frames
Joe Seer/

“Pass the Glass,” a July 11 event held at the offices of Manchester-based Dyn, gave participants a chance to discuss and try out Google’s newest high-tech offering, Google Glass.

Dyn employees, software developers and the tech curious filled Dyn’s solarium (a high-tech classroom) as web developer Joshua Cyr demonstrated the power of Glass.

The frames without lenses can take pictures, record videos, browse the web and give directions, among other functions. In other words, Glass is a simple computer that’s worn on the face.

The forum, which featured three other Google Glass owners, focused on the untapped potential of the frames. Because Google is keeping its app market as closed as possible during the beta testing period, even the Glass owners don’t know just how much their frames can do.

Many of the owners have been allowed to buy the beta version of the frames for $1,500 in order to develop applications for them. To win a pair of the beta frames, Glass hopefuls had to stand out in a Google competition, “If I had Glass.”

Cyr’s proposal detailed how he would use the frames to document the growth of his young daughter from his perspective. After all, one of Glass’s unique capabilities is its abilities to record videos from the exact perspective of the recorder.

Two other Glass owners, Don Schwartz and Ben Fortner, also based their proposals off this perspective possibility. Schwartz shares the frames with his son, who designs and builds ski jumps at the Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont. The pair explained that they wanted to use the glasses to better document the unappreciated art of terrain building.

Ben Fortner is designing a social biking and cyclist community around Glass’s ability to stream live videos from his perspective.

Two years ago, while training for a 100-mile bike race, the web designer was hit by a car, vaulting him into the air. Today, with the mission to get back to bike racing with his surgically repaired legs, Fortner is hoping to inspire others to join him, running and cycling via the community and the Glass.

Fortner explained that people often stay inactive because they don’t have someone else pushing them. With the Glasses, Fortner hopes people will be able to feel like they are riding or running with a partner even if they’re separated by thousands of miles

All four of the glass owners let the attendants try on their frames. Many of the wearers said they were impressed with the frame’s display — a translucent projection that appears on the right side of a person’s vision when the Glasses are on. 

Cyr’s presentation detailed Google’s uncharacteristic determination to keep the breadth of Glass small. Google has already prohibited facial recognition software and adult-themed projects to keep control of development more in the company’s hands than in the hands of the users. This is a change of pace for the company, which has allowed most user-developed apps on its android market. 

In his presentation, Cyr compared Glass’s potential to the first telephones, citing an 1878 Western Union internal memo that said the telephone had “too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.”

The web developer explained that in spite of a host of minor troubles,  like poor phone call clarity and non-exclusive audio control (which allows passersby to command the frames), Google Glass could one day be seen as revolutionary as the telephone.

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