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The world of wearables is hotting up like never before, with every manufacturer now bringing in a smart watch of some kind or the other. There’s another kind of wearable though that is a little under represented but has a huge potential to become the next bit of technology you will carry around, and that is the Optical Head Mounted Display (OHMD). Sounds a bit of a mouthful for a bit of technology, but you’re bound to be familiar with at least kind of OMHD, which is likely to be the Google Glass. So, why has this bit of tech been making waves for over 2 years since its release? Well, for one, it reminds young tech buffs of a Scouter from Dragon Ball Z. More importantly though, it has the potential to be the most important piece of personal technology to come out since the cell phone, and in many ways, is ahead of its time.

Google Glass is an Android Device, and was launched with Android 4.4 KitKat. If you’re wondering if the tiny prism on the eyepiece produces a small image, you’re wrong. The prism acts as an image focusing lens and actually creates a virtual image that appears at roughly an arm’s length from the face of the user, with an image size that is roughly equal in size to a 25 inch monitor at a resolution of 640x360p. The entire device fits on a specially built frame similar to a conventional pair of spectacles, with room for prescription lenses to be added as well.

Now, many may question the need for a somewhat bulky piece of eye-ware that seems cumbersome and heavy, but the genius behind Google Glass is not what it offers today, but what it can offer for tomorrow! Products like Google Glass open up the world for an endless list of possibilities for applications that seemed like gimmicks at best on other platforms such as cell phones. Augmented reality applications can take full use of the Head-Up Display-style of the eyepiece and it allows for applications like Google’s street view to be used in ways like never before.

The product isn’t currently available for consumers, but that hasn’t stopped the developer community from going crazy with their ideas.

Some of the most innovative Google glass apps are:

1. Glass Date Display: This app shows us that you don’t need to make complicated products to be great. By simply displaying the current date and time on the projected screen, it eliminates the need for you to ever look at your watch or phone to know what the date or time is, a feature that can be really useful when you’re giving a presentation and may not want to take your phone out or look at your watch.

2. Stay Glassy: Currently available only for the Toronto Transit System, this application allows you to get real-time estimates on bus and streetcar arrival times, by just pinning your location onto your timeline. This app has huge potential to expand to the various other cities and shows great promise both as a platform and a concept.

3. Name this song: How many times has it happened that you’re sat in a bar or restaurant, or even just driving to work with the radio on and a new song comes on that you really like? It isn’t always possible to pull your phone out and run SoundHound or Shazam it, but with the Google glass application “Name this song”- you just need to say exactly that and your song will be recorded and identified, completely hands-free.

4. DriveSafeGlass: A great application for those who do a lot of their driving at night, this app monitors your eye movements using the sensors on the glass, and checks if you’re displaying signs of sleepiness. The app can then alert you about your situation and potentially prevent a major disaster thus saving your life.

5. WhatGlass: Currently a beta application that is only available to the community, this app provides you with a relay of your whatsapp messages displayed directly by your Google glass.

6. Winkfeed: This application is a news feed that provides you with live updates on all the topics that are near and dear to you, provided in a moving feed on your Google glass.

7. SpeedHud: This app lets you know the exact speed you are travelling at by analysing the rate at which the images move through the sensor, making it great for keeping a check on your speed limits whilst keeping your eye on the road.

8. Word Lens for Google glass: This popular translation application is also available on Google Glass. It gives you real time translations of menus, signs and boards by just looking at the text you wish to translate. Currently allows you to translate from English to Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German and Russian.

9. Glassentation: This app allows you to send a bundle of cards to send to your glass. These cards can contain notes, titles and slide numbers for your presentation and is incredibly useful as it allows you to read out exactly what you want to say during your presentation without looking up at the screen.

10. Glass To-do: A simple notes and to-do list application, this basically gives you a fixed view of things like your grocery shopping list when you hit the supermarket, ensuring that you don’t forget to pick up what you need without ever having to pick up a piece of paper or take your phone out.

As Google Glass is an Android-platform device, all Google Glass App development happens using Java. Designing apps for Google Glass is unique because of the unique interface the applications will have (no touchscreen or keyboard is available; everything is controlled by voice or by the buttons on the frame) and it takes some skill to get things right for this platform. This has meant that the development for this platform has been somewhat limited and many apps fail to utilize the platform to its full potential.

Some apps that we think will properly utilize the platform to its fullest are:

1. Live-feed google street View: While Google maps already offer turn-by-turn directions for all the Android devices, A live feed of the street view present on the head-up display fully utilizes the large virtual screen offered by the eyepiece.

2. Kitchen feed: A video feed of whatever recipe you choose along with cooking instructions that are displayed as you move further with your recipe. Can also be expanded to recognise ingredients and list substitutions for ingredients which may be unavailable for the recipes.

3. Tourist guide: An application that lists details of any monument that is placed in its view, giving information on history and directions to other famous monuments near it. Great for backpackers and tourists who may not want to spend on expensive tour guides.

4. Workout buddy: An app that provides a video feed of an instructor showing users the right techniques to get the best from their workouts. App also links with fitness bands to give real-time body updates on things like calories burnt, heart rate, etc.

5. Go-pro style video camera app: A go-pro style video camera app that allows the user to create time lapses and records real-time videos of trips and journeys, generated with a simple voice command or button-click.

With the Google glass platform still in its infancy, many features are yet to be optimized and the platform requires a little evolution to become an every-day necessity. This product marks a major step in the domain of wearables, not necessarily because of its current qualities, but rather because of its potential. It’s natural to expect this product to be a hit on its first shot at the market with a big name like Google attached to it, and in many ways, the long gap between the developer release and consumer release is a testament to this, but we need to remember that not many products are a hit on their first shot in the market. Having said that, the potential in Google Glass is real and offers a serious leap in the capabilities when combined with the power of a Cell phone and other peripherals such as smart watches or fitness bands. As this product evolves and gets fine-tuned to work with the constraints of daily life, it even could one day replace your cell phone in its entirety, and that is huge potential indeed.