Google Glass is getting some changes, including a move to Intel processors to replace the Texas Instruments CPUs that presently power the devices, as Google works to refine and perhaps reimagine its Glass experiment.
The switch to Intel CPUs was reported Nov. 30 by The Wall Street Journal as part of a plan by Intel to move further into the expanding world of wearable technology. The parts switch will occur in a new version of Glass that is expected in 2015, according to unnamed sources quoted by The Journal.
And instead of following Google's strategy of promoting Glass as a consumer device, "Intel plans to promote Glass to companies such as hospital networks and manufacturers, while developing new workplace uses for the device," The Journal reported, based on one of its sources.
That actually could make more sense for Google as it works to develop a market for the eyewear-mounted devices, which are still in the development stages.
Lots of different businesses in a wide variety of industries have been using Glass devices in their work, including hospitals, airlines, manufacturing companies and even schools.
In Boston, Google Glass devices have been helping emergency room doctors in a busy hospital to get patient information much faster, while also allowing doctors to focus more on their patients instead of on computers, according to an April 2014 eWEEK report. The Glass pilot project, which was conducted at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, involved four Glass devices that were shared by 10 ER doctors to provide care to their patients in an often-chaotic metropolitan hospital emergency room.
The devices helped free up doctors from the distraction of using nearby computer terminals by allowing them to truly focus on their patients and give more personalized care, according to the participants in the pilot.
Also experimenting with Glass was Virgin Atlantic airlines, which conducted trials in early 2014 to see how Glass and similar wearable computing devices could help airline employees assist passengers throughout all phases of travel, including boarding and in-flight, according to a February 2014 eWEEK report. The airline's six-week Google Glass pilot project was conducted at London's Heathrow airport and was visible to passengers as they arrived for their flights.
Using Glass, Upper Class passengers were able to be greeted by name at the airport by Virgin personnel who were wearing Glass devices that they also used to check their passengers in for their flights, according to Virgin. Airline personnel were also able to update the incoming passengers about their latest flight information and weather details, as well as about local events at their destinations.
In addition, Virgin personnel were able to translate any foreign language information needed by their passengers using Glass. As such technologies continue to be refined in the future, airline personnel could eventually even gain the ability to determine their passengers' dietary and refreshment preferences by using Google Glass or other devices to access their records.
Virgin's testing with Glass came on the heels of a related experiment with Glass by the New York Police Department, which began trials in December 2013 to see how the devices could be used in police work.
In April 2014, Google began a "Glass at Work" program to encourage businesses to learn more about how Glass might be integrated in useful ways for their employees and business processes. Two businesses that are already experimenting with Glass are the Washington Capitals NHL hockey club and oil field services company Schlumberger, according to an earlier eWEEK story.
The Capitals selected several hundred fans at a Jan. 14 game against the San Jose Sharks to try out a Glass app called Skybox that was built by APX Labs. Using Skybox, the fans were able to see real-time instant replays on the devices, view different camera angles, pull up player stats and information with simple commands, share game highlights on social media, and receive other customized and specialized information through a high-performance content management system serving the Verizon Center.
Schlumberger partnered with a company called Wearable Intelligence to use Glass to increase safety and efficiency for their employees in the field, according to Google.
The new Glass at Work program is seeking developers to get involved with the effort to build more applications that can help businesses use Glass in their operations. Google has built a sign-up page where developers can register to join the effort.