Virgin Atlantic Testing Google Glass to Aid Airline Passengers
Virgin's testing with Glass comes on the heels of a related experiment with Glass by the New York Police Department, which began trials in December to see how the devices could be used in police work. The devices have not yet been deployed in any actual field or patrol operations, but reviews are being done to see how they may be used in the future, according to the department. The news that the NYPD is investigating possible uses for Google Glass is intriguing on its face, particularly because of several high-profile incidents involving the digital eyewear in the last six months. In January 2014, a network administrator from Columbus, Ohio, was removed from a movie theater and questioned by federal authorities over concerns that he was using the Google Glass on his head to film a bootleg copy of the movie being shown in the theater. That followed the case of a California driver who was stopped for speeding in October 2013 and cited for speeding and for driving while wearing Google Glass.In the case of the California driver, Cecelia Abadie, 44, of Temecula, Calif., was cited in October 2013 as she drove home from San Diego, but her case was dismissed in January when during her trial a judge ruled that the arresting officer had not observed her actually using the head-mounted computer. Concerns about Google Glass and the law had surfaced even before both of these cases. Reports from around the nation have occasionally made headlines when bars, restaurants and other public facilities have posted signs inside their establishments banning the use of Google Glass inside due to privacy and other issues. The topic of Google Glass potentially being worn by drivers was even raised in March 2013 in West Virginia, where a state legislator introduced a bill that would have banned driving by persons wearing head-mounted displays, including Google Glass. But the bill stalled and never came up for a vote in 2013. Google Glass has been a topic of conversation among techies since news of it first arrived in 2012. The first Google Glass units began shipping in April 2013 to developers who signed up at the June 2012 Google I/O conference to buy an early set for $1,500 for testing and development; it was the hit of the conference. Google also then began shipping Glass units to lucky users who were selected in the #ifihadglass contest for the opportunity to buy their own early versions of Glass. Each Google Glass device includes adjustable nose pads and a high-resolution display that Google said is the equivalent of a 25-inch high-definition screen from 8 feet away. The glasses also feature a built-in camera that takes 5-megapixel photos and video at 720p. Audio is delivered to wearers through their bones, using bone-conduction transducers. At the same time, Google Glass is gaining acceptance in the marketplace, even before its official launch to consumers, which is expected sometime this year. In January 2014, Google announced a deal with eyewear and vision insurer VSP Global that will cover a portion of Google Glass frames and prescription lenses for its insurance customers.
In the movie theater case, an agent from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations unit went to the man's seat in the darkened theater and asked him to come along for questioning. Eventually, the man was freed when he was able to prove that he had not used Glass to capture the film illegally. While he was detained, he was subjected to detailed questioning about his activities in the theater and about his use of Google Glass.