The Maker Lab purchased a Google Glass that will soon be available to students for check-out. The optical device allows students to pursue their interests for development in the wearables field of technology.
The Google Glass is still in development and obtainable through closed invite only. Even if one is able to grab a spot, there is still a fee for the glass. The glass is an optical, head-mounted display much like using a smartphone in a hands-free format. It is capable of almost every function found in a phone through voice-commands or a touch-menu on the frame. Nodding one’s head or saying “Ok, Google” will activate the Google Glass.
The Maker Lab was able purchase a Google Glass a month ago because of the early action of Dr. Brian Burton, assistant professor of information technology. Burton applied for a Google Glass spot last summer when they were first unveiled.
“When Google Glasses was first announced, I saw it as a natural outgrowth of what ACU has been doing with mobile computing,” Burton said. “It was the next evolutionary step in where mobile technology was headed. So I thought, let’s get one on campus so we can start developing on them.”
Burton received his spot in December and passed it on to Lyndell Lee, Maker Lab educational technology specialist.
“Rather than buying it for just one department, especially since the amount of time they’ll have to use it is pretty low,” Lee said. “Dr. Burton approached me for buying one that can be used by the whole campus. So the Maker Lab bought it.”
Lee said he has been testing the glass and is looking out for anyone who would want to develop software for the Google Glass.
“When you’re wearing it, you’re prone to gawkers,” Lee said. “But it is really interesting… There is no lag in getting information with the glasses.”
Burton said wearing the Google Glass is a different experience than what he expected.
“The screen is on the corner of your right eye and it is much more menu-driven. As we’re progressing it is very exciting to see where it is headed,” Burton said.
Lee did not mention a specific date but said the Google Glass will soon be available to check-out at the Maker Lab.
“Folks who are in an active development project on it are subject to a process for checking it out,” Lee said. “It’s not department-specific and is open to anybody who has a passion for Android development.”
Burton’s game development class has had a chance to try the glass and start developing it.
“One of the ideas we are playing with right now is facial recognition program,” Burton said. “A professor could wear it into class and it basically would take attendance and also call the students by name.”
While the Google Glass costs about $1,500 right now, the company aims to release them on the market at about the same price as an iPhone. Burton is encouraging his students to develop software on the device as there is a niche in the job market for individuals who can program for Google Glass.
“If you can write software for it, it’s going to be like an open door way,” Burton said. “The demand for people with these specialized skills is going to be huge.”