When Google Glass was first announced, it was received mostly as some sort of novelty. In some dark corner of their minds, many people were thinking about using it for all sorts of things, but not necessarily anything that would generate public good. Those who scoffed at the idea of smart glasses should be thinking twice about that reaction, though, since Google Glass has many uses aside from snooping around and capturing video. A little bit of imagination and perhaps some entrepreneurial spirit can help smart glasses gain popularity in various industries and institutions meant to help – and sometimes even protect – everyday citizens.
1: In Education
Perhaps one of the most clear examples that demonstrate how well the use of smart glasses can be applied is in the classroom. Teachers, for example, can immediately be informed if a student isn’t paying attention with internal software that would monitor each various students’ eye movements. At this point, such an application would not be easy to implement due to the limitations found in current smart glass hardware, but this could come at a later time when the technology advances even further.
Let’s look at some concrete examples of how products like Google Glass can be applied in the classroom now:
- As a language learning tool: Translating languages is easy when you can use a translation app right next to your eyes. It would be very simple to have a conversation with a foreigner if both of you are wearing the equipment with translation applications powered by voice recognition.
- As a quick fact-checking tool: If a student cites a reference on a piece of work, you can immediately check out that source by searching for a term or following the link. The right app would make this process very easy.
- Capture clips of a class session: The best way to do this is to have a student actually record your class session through a pair of smart glasses and then share it with you so that you can upload the clip wherever you want.
This is the moment for education to shine through the use of this and many other technologies. It’s time to bring the classroom into the 21st century!
2: Law Enforcement
You might have guessed this one already. Police can easily use Google Glass or other similar products to both protect themselves and citizens. Since cops know that they’re recording what they’re doing, they’ll be less likely to use excessive force. Since citizens know they’re being recorded, they’ll also behave accordingly.
But the device also has other uses, some which are possible now and others that will possibly appear in the future:
- Criminal recognition: A criminal can easily be identified by facial recognition against an ID database. Law enforcement agencies can easily develop apps for this purpose.
- Collection of evidence: This is a pretty obvious one. Cops will record what they see and be able to use this as prosecuting evidence.
- Speed detection: Who knows? Maybe in the future, police officials will be able to throw away their radar guns and instead use their glasses to catch people speeding.
Perhaps one of the most exciting uses for smart glasses is saving people’s lives on the operating table, like these surgeons who use smart glasses to have a look at cancerous cells or this surgeon who used Google Glass to broadcast a foot surgery.
Other uses? There are many:
- Matching the medication to the patient: Nurses, instead of reading bar codes and finding the proper patient for the IV bags in their hands, can use Google Glass to automatically show them which patient needs to use that IV. This can happen through a QR code (a bit easier than a bar code to implement) or optical character recognition (OCR). Wi-Fi geolocation can assist the nurse in finding the right patient.
- Handling emergencies with quick access to information: An emergency physician can easily have a look at all the information related to a patient. A simple tap will give the physician all of the information on the patient from an electronic database, including vital signs and lab results.
- Let’s just throw away that dumb pager: The pager, a device we’re all familiar with throughout the 80s, was invented specifically for hospital staff use. It’s quite surprising how many hospitals still use this system, despite the fact that it’s an outdated technology that should go the way of the dinosaur. With the advent of smart glasses, there’s just no more excuse. Paging a doctor shouldn’t involve dialing a myriad of numbers. It should be as simple as typing a message and clicking “Send.” The message will appear on both the doctor’s smartphone and glasses.
The Fun Is Not Over Yet!
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Smart glass technology will help people in so many ways, we have yet to fathom the utility of such a product. If you have some other uses in mind, leave a comment below and we might consider including it in a later piece!