Google's New Glass Explorers Usher In The Mainstream Wave Of Augmented Reality

Among the 8,000 Glass Explorers getting priority access to the $1,500 headsets is a fire chief whose idea we first noticed back in February.

Back in February, Google announced an open call for applications of its Google Glass augmented reality tech. Winners, called Glass Explorers, would have the ability to get their paws on a pair of Glass earlier than the rest of us plebians, though they'd still have to shell out the full $1,500 retail price to do so.

A month later, Google has begun announcing the names of the 8,000-plus winners of its Glass Explorer challenge.

Google featured six of the initial winners in a media email, one of whom is Max Wood, the fire chief of Gray, Georgia and one of 10 promising applicants we highlighted last month. Wood's idea? To improve firefighter safety by using Glass's location services and real-time video tech to create better communication lines between commanders and firefighters.

Google Glass, which is expected to go on sale by the end of 2013, has popped up everywhere from the fashion runway to the NYC subway, and on the faces of tech founders and celebs alike, from Foursquare's Dennis Crowley to pop singer Brandy. This year, it was the hottest gadget at the hipster-tech confab known as SXSW. With this first wave of Glass Explorers, though, we'll finally begin to see concrete examples of promising applications that could eventually reach mainstream adoption, should Glass garner widespread consumer success.

Here's the list of the six initial winners:

  • Sarah Hill (Columbia, MO) would take Glass to a VA hospital and let veterans see their war memorials
  • Herschel Taghap (Seattle) would show people what it's like to be a line cook in a restaurant
  • Shannon Rooney would travel to Japan and help her Grandma re-experience her homeland without leaving her home in the U.S.
  • David Moriarty: improving doctor-patient interaction for clinical trials
  • Anthony Brown (San Francisco, CA) is a zookeeper who would show penguin feedings with Glass
  • Max Wood (Gray, GA) is a firefighter who would improve fire safety by using pre-fire planning maps

Google will continue to alert all winners via Twitter and Google+.

[Image: Google Glass]

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