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.
Google Glass to Get Intel Processor in 2015
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.
There have been several very public controversies involving Google Glass as well, which might be the reason that some of the luster has been lost since the devices were first unveiled back in 2012.
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. 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.
That incident followed the case of a California driver who was stopped and cited for speeding in October 2013 when she drove and was wearing a Glass device. The California driver, Cecelia Abadie of Temecula, Calif., was cited in October 2013 as she drove home from San Diego, but her case was dismissed in January 2014, 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.
In May 2014, Google announced that beta versions of Glass devices could then be purchased by anyone in the United States as long as the company has them in stock. The move came as the company is continuing its recent efforts to expand the number of early “Explorer” users who are trying the devices out in the wild. The Glass devices, which sell for $1,500 plus taxes, can be configured and ordered at the Glass Website, according to Google. Several options and add-ons can raise the price of the devices.
Google Glass has been a topic of conversation among techies since news of the futuristic eyeglass-mounted computer devices first surfaced in 2012 at the Google I/O developer’s conference. Developers at the show were offered the chance to buy early “Explorer” versions of Glass for $1,500 for testing and development. Glass was the hit of that conference.
Since the first Glass devices began shipping to Explorers in April 2013, some users have already been modifying their Glass units to work with prescription lenses, based on reports from users on social media sites and other sources. The Explorer versions sell for $1,500 each, plus shipping.