You do not really know what the future will be like until you are actually living it, or in my case, wearing it.

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“Your Chance to Buy Google Glass” was the subject of the email in late November.  The email concluded with “Happy Thanksgiving.” The invitation was to join the Google Glass Explorer program. An opportunity to explore a new concept product before it is marketed. I was shocked and honored.

As an educator and developer, the potential of Glass is very exciting. A couple of months before the invite I filled out an online application for obtaining Glass. When I filled out the form, I thought I would just get more information sent to me about the product. Never really thought I would be able to obtain Glass before it was commercially available.

My experience with Glass to date has been very positive.  I haven’t had any problems with social acceptance. People have stopped me to ask what I am wearing. Some recognize that it is Glass. Some stare trying to figure out what it is that I am wearing, but most do not notice, even in very crowded conditions.

What I see are a lot of smiles with twinkling eyes.

At first I was not able to wear Glass on a regular basis as I also wear prescription bifocal glasses. Since Google came out with frames for prescription lenses in January, I have been wearing them every day. The daily use of Glass has broadened my understanding of the future of information technology.

We all use information technology every day, but we make a conscious effort to use it. Consider how often you use technology throughout a day and do not think about it. Not just information technology, but anything created to make our lives easier, such as a car, a toilet, or a ballpoint pen. Now think how often you use a mobile phone, a desktop computer, or a tablet.

How we use information technology today requires the deliberate use of a device using our hands to manipulate the device. Glass changes that paradigm.

Glass offers a new way of using information technology. The major premise is for the ‘here and now’ using hands free voice activation and visual recognition. It is also about incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) as part of our lives. Glass leads the way for making information technology ubiquitous.

With Glass, I can simply ask it for information: “Who is the Mayor of Milwuakee?” “Find a Chinese restaurant nearby”  “Who won the Milwaukee Brewers game?”  The answers are spoken back to me with the ability to see the answers on the display as well as be able to find more information about the topic.

Glass can also send me notifications and alerts that I request: Weather, messages, mail. These provide a sound alert and can be viewed when I want to read them or have them read to me.

Taking a picture is as easy as giving a voice command or winking. No more holding a camera or other device. Simply look at something and wink.

Sending a text message is as easy as speaking it.

Glass, using Google Now, provides information that may be helpful based upon my past activities and interests. Every day it provides me directions to where it thinks I may want to go. As I travel it provides recommendations based on where I am.

Imagine that you can use information technology without having to use a device; it is just there when you want it. Imagine that information technology is not just there for you to use, but it actually assists you.

Glass is not just about the product, but about a new way of how information technology will be used.

As a product Glass is not ready for the mass market. Commercial vertical markets in health, sports, and public safety are developing. These are all areas where information technology is becoming more ubiquitous. Software to meet these markets is being quickly developed. However, Glass as a consumer product itself does not have enough software to be effective for general use. This will take time as the concept of ubiquitous technology using AI becomes developed.

My professional life has been filled with looking to the future while understanding the past. Glass represents an aspect of the future. The future of information technology resides with the use of devices in an environment where information technology is ubiquitous. What Glass or any future devices will really do or end up looking like will be dependent upon those who explore the technology, discover its uses, and develop its applications.

As a Glass Explorer my interest is as an educator and developer. Exposing people to Glass, understanding the development environment, and discovering how Glass can be used is my focus.

We can only see the future if we experience it. Glass allows me to experience the future.

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Larry Domine is an instructor in MATC’s Individualized Technical Studies program.

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