Google Glass Project Looking for a Few Great Testers

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-02-20

Google Glass Project Looking for a Few Great Testers

Google is expanding the nascent test project for its Glass eyewear-mounted computer by inviting interested applicants to submit proposals for a chance to buy an early model and become a part of its continuing development.

"We're looking for bold, creative individuals who want to join us and be a part of shaping the future of Glass," Google wrote on a Web page that unveils new details about the project. "We're still in the early stages, and while we can't promise everything will be perfect, we can promise it will be exciting."

So far, Glass has only been available to developers who attended the annual Google I/O Conference in July 2012, where the devices were unveiled officially. Those developers were given the first chances to buy the first "Explorer Edition" units of the product for $1,500 each when they are offered for sale this year.

Now, though, Google is ready to expand the testing to the general public, with some conditions, according to the company. The biggest caveat is that participants who are chosen would first have to buy a set of Glass for $1,500 plus taxes.

"Using Google+ or Twitter, tell us what you would do if you had Glass, starting with the hashtag #ifihadglass," Google announced on the Web page. Applications must be 50 words or less and can include up to five photos and a short video of no more than 15 seconds in length. Applicants must also follow the project on Google+ or Twitter so that they can be contacted by Google if selected.

Participants also have to be at least 18 years old and live in the United States to get involved, according to Google.

The search giant will accept applications through Feb. 27, and selected participants will be contacted by the company. Devices will have to be picked up by participants in person at special pickup events held in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, according to the program rules.

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.

Using Glass, users will be able to take a hands-free video by speaking to the unit and telling it to take a video, according to the presentation.

Google Glass Project Looking for a Few Great Testers

Users will also be able to speak to Glass to instruct it to take a photograph, get travel directions on a heads-up display in front of their eyes, or speak to Glass to send a message to someone else.

The device will be able to share what users are seeing and to answer their questions through a wireless Internet connection, according to Google. It will also allow users to ask for translations in other languages, such as how to say a word in Chinese.

Glass also will be able to give users information without having to be asked, such as gate and departure information on flights as they head to an airport.

Several photos of Glass being used in various situations are also featured, as well as images of the five colors from which participants can select for their devices. Early Glass versions will come in charcoal, tangerine, shale, cotton or sky colors.

Google recently held two "hackathon" events in New York City and San Francisco as part of its "Glass Foundry" program to collect developer input for the devices with an emphasis on developing the Google Mirror API. Attendees were given access to a Glass device for use and testing.

The company will also hold a Building New Experiences with Glass session on March 11 at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference to further the project's development.

Earlier this month, it was unveiled that Google Glass will apparently transmit sound to its users via vibrations through human bones rather than relying on traditional speakers.

Google filed a U.S. patent application Jan. 24 for its "wearable computing device with indirect bone-conduction speaker," which calls for a sound transmission system that transmits sounds to users' bones without the use of typical earbuds or speakers. Such bone-conduction systems already are on the market in some products and headsets, but until now there was no mention of this in earlier Google papers filed about Glass.

The basic components of 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.

An actual Google Glass device was spotted in public Jan. 21 being used by Google co-founder Sergey Brin on a New York subway train. The sighting was posted by a device hardware prototyper and hardware hacker who recognized the device and spoke briefly to Brin about the project.

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