Google Glass May Not Be Welcome for Drivers in West Virginia

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-03-25 Print this article Print

In a reply to an eWEEK inquiry about the proposed law, a Google spokesperson said that the idea behind Glass could actually help drivers operate their vehicles more safely.

“We are putting a lot of thought into the design of Glass because new technologies always raise new issues," the spokesperson wrote in an email reply. "We actually believe there is tremendous potential to improve safety on our roads and reduce accidents. As always, feedback is welcome."

Instead of banning such devices before seeing how they work in real life, regulators should wait to see what the devices truly bring to the table before enacting new laws about them, according to Google. Some of the positive features of Google Glass would include its GPS functions, such as built-in turn-by-turn navigation. The devices take advantage of voice activation for many features, which would prevent them from being distractions, according to Google. The devices are designed to give information through a quick glance and are not meant for prolonged viewing or reading by drivers, Google says.

The basic components of Google Glass feature an Android-powered display, a tiny Webcam, a GPS locator and an Internet connection node built into one side of a pair of glasses. The glasses are lightweight and may or may not have lenses.

So far, Glass has only been available to developers who attended the annual Google I/O conference in June 2012, when the device was unveiled officially. Those developers were given the first chances to buy the initial Explorer Edition of the product for $1,500 each. The first consumer versions are not expected to hit the market until 2014, according to Google.

Recently Google confirmed that prescription lenses will eventually be offered for users who need them to use Google Glass.

Even though Google Glass has yet to hit the market, rumors of the next generation of the product already started showing up in February. The initial reports, based on a purported patent application, call for version 2 to work with both of the wearer's eyes using specialized lasers that would provide a dual-eye image, rather than the original version's one-eye display.

In February, Google also announced that it will expand its Google Glass testing pool to get more testers and collect additional input for the still-evolving project. The company invited interested applicants to submit proposals for a chance to buy an early model and become a part of its continuing development.

As part of the expanded testing program, Google also unveiled some cool new details about Glass through a brief video that explores some of its early capabilities.

Google also recently revealed that the Glass devices will transmit sound to its users via vibrations through human bones rather than relying on traditional speakers.



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