Google introduced the now-renowned Google Glass with some fanfare in late 2012. The product was issued in a beta test with limited availability. There were actually no lenses in the frame, but it was basically a micro computer, that included a screen over theright eye and a camera, and was worn as eyeglasses. Although it was functional it was considered as unnattractive and that may be about to change as Google prepares to make Glass avaialable to everyone.
At the same time there are several efforts underway in Toronto to promote the adoption of the wearable device, and to make Toronto into one of the epicenters for wearable technology.
As the company works to change the perception, Toronto University professor, Steve Mann, sees the move as one in the right direction. Mann has been working in the field of wearable computing since the 1970s, and has developed his own version of computerized glasses, although they did not include Internet access, and was developed primarily for enhancing vision.
He expects to see big changes with Google Glass as the company expands efforts to make it popular enough for everyone to want to wear them. They are introducing glasses with 4 styles of prescription frames in different colors and also 2 choices styles for sunglasses.
It is hoped that the glasses will become mainstream, but before we get there, there are several issues that should be addressed. Professor Mann is organizing a conference to be held in June entitled
"Social implications of wearable computing and augmediated reality.” where concerns will be discussed.
Several other Toronto residents, including University of Toronto Technical Institute researcher Isabel Pedersen sees the change as being significant.
Along with the introduction of stylish designer frames for Google glass, a Toronto area meet-up group organized by technology writer Tom Emrich, who also works in wearable computing, is holding an inauguration meet-up entitled “Wearable Wednesday” where participants gather to learn more discuss, and celebrate the new technology.
One of the objectives is to make Toronto one of the most glass friendly cities on the planet and initiatives are already underway as surgeons in St. Michael’s Hospital are about to begin conduct testing of the use of Glass in the operating rooms.