New Technology Update: Google glasses and Sixth sense and Techno Chix

Some of Google Glasses' functions are to identify landmarks, check the weather, and call friends.
courtesy of hightech-post.com

Some of Google Glasses' functions are to identify landmarks, check the weather, and call friends. courtesy of hightech-post.com

Convent of the Sacred Heart’s theme for the 2012-2013 school year is “Insight and Innovation.” Teachers have inspired their students to push their boundaries within the technological and artistic worlds. Mankind has also adjusted to the development of new technology. With constant innovation, and new advances in machinery, the digital atmosphere is becoming blended into society’s lives. One new innovation is the creation of Google Glass.

Google Glass resembles a wearable smartphone. It is a “hands-free” application that is worn around the head, just like normal glasses. The glass, however, currently has no frames. In the future, Google hopes to coordinate with RayBan, Warby-Parker, and different eyeglasse brands to further develop the product.

Some of Google Glasses' functions are to identify landmarks, check the weather, and call friends. courtesy of hightech-post.com
Some of Google Glasses’ functions are to identify landmarks, check the weather, and call friends.
courtesy of hightech-post.com

The frameless Google Glass displays information in front of the eyes.  The outside frame is connected to a camera, a microphone, a speaker and many other features such as WiFi and Bluetooth. Google Glass can wirelessly attach to smartphones, iPads, and the Internet.

Similar to the popular iPhone feature, Siri, Google hopes that its new glasses will be be able to receive voice commands from the user. With a simple saying, such as “take a picture,” the glasses will create an image. Likewise, the Glass will be able to give directions, send messages, and record videos.

Whenever wearing the Google Glass product, people will be able to document nearly every part of their day, through vocal commands.

The glasses are currently listed at $1,500.

In an interview with nbcnews.com, Google’s vice president of engineering for Search, Scott Huffman, shared his ideas about Google’s newest product.

“One thing that we’re really excited about and working hard on is transforming the way that people interact with Google,” Mr. Huffman said. “From the stilted-one-keyword-at-a-time conversation, to more of a natural conversation…like a human assistant.”

The development of Google Glass has inspired a “sixth sense” for people all over the world with its hands free technology and ability to act as a personal assistant. However, Google Glass is not the first of its kind.

The SixthSense technology, a hands-free invention created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a wearable device that allows people to interact with information by using hand motions.

Just like a cell phone or a laptop, people are able to draw and take pictures, watch videos, place calls, check the weather, and read books with SixthSense.  It differs, however, in that instead of just having the five senses, SixthSense adds a whole new dimension to the way people are able to perceive and attain information.

With SixthSense, a display of information is projected onto a surface. For example, a map can be projected onto a wall and people can use different hand gestures to zoom in, zoom out and find locations or destinations.

Pranav Mistry, creator of the SixthSense technology, tries out his product. The projector worn on his head reflects the image at his fingertips, and he is able to control various apps right in front of him. courtesy of http://www.amaete.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Sixth_Sense.jpg
Pranav Mistry, creator of the SixthSense technology, tries out his product. The projector worn on his head reflects the image at his fingertips, and he is able to control various apps right in front of him.
courtesy of http://www.amaete.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Sixth_Sense.jpg

Colored pads are placed around the user’s fingertips along with a camera device. A projector is also worn around the neck.

Pranav Mistry, the creator of SixthSense, was asked in an interview on www.blog.ted.com, why he chose to display information by projecting it onto a surface, rather than on an application like glasses.

“A projector opens up interaction and sharing. Say you and I are walking down the street in New York, talking, and suddenly I get mail we both want to see. I can show it on a wall, and we can make a decision together right there. It’s opening information to share,” Mr. Mistry said.

The ‘sixth sense’ enables people to make better decisions and actions by having useful data and knowledge available to them without having to pull out their phone or laptop to access information on the Internet.

The SixthSense technology is useful for many different professions and situations.

“The first application that comes to mind would be for police or military personnel, people who work in physical environments that would require them to be on the move while accessing, collecting, or analyzing data about geography, language, weather, etc.,” Upper School Science Department Chair, Dr. Victoria Landry said.

The benefits of SixthSense technology have been recognized for its industrial success.  The creation won the 2009 Invention Award by Popular Science and the 2009 Young Inventor under 35 award by Technology Review.

Despite the positive aspects of SixthSense technology, many believe that there are also some negatives aspects.

“It seems that the biggest concern is privacy.  Regardless of having a lot of people walking around with cameras on their heads, I think that privacy in public should no longer be expected with all the technologies that are being developed,” Upper School math teacher, Mr. Joel Padilla said.

Dr. Landry also mentioned a downside of SixthSense.

“It could change the degree and quality of people’s interaction with the world and with others,” Dr. Landry said. “It would be unfortunate if people became dependent on having this type of device in order to make their way through the day.”

Similarly to the hands-free innovations of GoogleGlass and the SixthSense technology, students within the Sacred Heart community have developed their own concepts of these modern day advances.

Junior Christina Paolicelli, along with her robotics team “Techno Chix,” received the “Think Award” for the engineering of their robot in the Connecticut FIRST Tech Challenge in March.  The team was also awarded the “Connect Award” in the FIRST New York City Championships for their robot.

“We did a lot of brainstorming as a group and a decent amount of prototyping with cardboard,” Christina said.

Christina and her team then used different techniques to create the robot. With new technology like this being created and developed, Christina is aware of the changes and innovations that GoogleGlass and SixthSense can bring to society.
“I think that integration into normal activities is the next step for smartphone-like technology,” Christina said. “However I don’t think they will catch on right away and it will take a long amount of time for them to come to the consumer market.”

As of now, Google Glass is only a prototype and is still being developed. Google hopes to release the final product sometime in 2013. SixthSense technology is also still being developed and, while no one knows the final release date of this technological advancement, it looks to be sometime in the near future.

 – Sarah Jackmauh and Alice Millerchip, Staff Writers

To experience the feel of wearing a pair of Google Glasses, click here: http://www.google.com/glass/start/how-it-feels/