Americas May 28, 2012
Google continues to add to their product offerings in some incredible ways, proving that they are serious about staying on the cutting edge of technological innovation. The Google Wallet app is slowly making it possible for an individual to completely forgo cash transactions, and manage their finances through a smartphone.
Google has also been test driving an automatic, self-driving car for months now, and actually had their first car licensed for street use in Nevada. But one of their most exciting offerings is called Google Glasses, and it’s the first internet connected eyewear on the market. Conjuring visions of futuristic, science fiction-based worlds that were previously only seen in movies like “Minority Report”, the Google Glasses will add a virtual layer to the real world. Users will be able to see a real-time overlay of GPS-powered navigation, and connect with their social network friends where they actually are in reality. But the opportunities presented by the Glasses go much deeper than that. Google engineers are pushing the envelope with what’s possible for this product in their Project Glass development work, and the applications for the hearing impaired are truly astounding.
Google recently released a patent and described in depth their plans for creating new features inside the Google Glasses specifically to aid the hearing impaired when they’re out in the world. One of the features is that the glasses will actually alert the user with a text message when loud noises or potential dangers are approaching. It’s all part of a 360 degree sensor system that will protect the user from something they wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise. For example, say a hearing impaired user steps out into the street. They have the right of way, but an oncoming car ignores it, and a dangerous situation presents itself. The Google Glasses will display a text message alerting the wearer to the danger, as well as directional arrows and flashing lights so the person will know which way to turn to assess the situation. The flashing lights will intensify as the loud noise gets closer. This isn’t just a neat piece of technology. It could actually save lives some day.
On top of features that will make people safer, Google is also working on new applications to make the lives of people with hearing disabilities a little bit easier. They’ll soon be able to offer a speech-to-text feature, so the Glasses will ‘hear’ what someone is saying and translate it to a text message displayed on the tiny embedded monitors. They’ll be able to keep track of past conversations, and will even adjust to where the speaker or speakers are standing by repositioning text bubbles. It’s a great addition for people out at parties or noisy dinners, since the Glasses will be able to distinguish the different voices and place separate text boxes in the direction of the speakers. It will even note sounds coming from non-human sources, such as barking dogs.
The new patent describes how the several included video cameras and mic systems will be able to grab each angle of input. The Google Glasses will also have a touch pad on one side that the user will be able to operate with a single finger. It’s a truly remarkable technological breakthrough. These high tech glasses will also be fairly durable, so users shouldn’t worry about a 1 day acuvue moist pad shorting out the system.