If We Had Glass, What Wouldn’t We Do?

Google’s “If I Had Glass” competition drew in thousands of entries from people clamoring to get their hands on a pair of the augmented reality glasses. We pick out some of the most promising.

If We Had Glass, What Wouldn’t We Do?

A daily calorie tracker. A lifeline to a 911 operator. A real-time sign language translator. These are just a few of the thousands of entries submitted to Google‘s If I Had Glass competition, which ended on Wednesday. The competition was an open call in search of early-access testers, or Glass Explorers, for the highly anticipated augmented reality headset the company says will be on sale by the end of 2013. We’ve rounded up a few promising use-cases for Glass below. Check out how Glass works here.


The team behind travel app Triposo suggests using Glass to
explore an unfamiliar place. Glass could pull up hotel reviews, notify you of events happening nearby, or inform you that you happen to be standing in front of the restaurant with the best apple pie in Amsterdam. Many of these potential applications could also enhance Field Trip, Google’s own local discovery Android app.

Google just added additional support features to Google Plus Hangouts to enhance the experience for hearing-impaired users. This submission goes a step further by enabling Glass to translate sign language gestures into text and vice-versa.
JetBlue offers a few suggestions to relieve some small pain points of airport navigation: finding free outlets, locating baggage claim carousels, and getting the most up-to-date information about your gate and departure time.

Mountain View-based hacker and designer Yang Shun Tay envisions a way to track daily calorie intake and burn by using Glass to analyze meal information and log workouts.

London-based marketing firm Agency Republic devises a Glass-based communication system that allows 911 operators to give step-by-step instructions to civilian aids at the scene before medical help arrives.

A UC Berkeley student suggests an
“assistant” that’s like a Glass-enhanced version of Google’s personal search assistant, Google Now. Glass could remind you of daily tasks and events, based on your location and the time of day. (Think reminders to take out the garbage the day disposal trucks come around and to feed your parking meter when the timer is running low.)

Carnegie Mellon University professor Alyosha Efros‘s concept combines Glass’s technology with archival footage and historical paintings to turn current-day scenes into immersive history lessons.

In this musically inclined suggestion, audio pattern recognition would allow Glass to take care of the sheet music page-turning as musicians play through compositions.

Ghostrunner is a concept that turns your running workouts into competitions by allowing you to race against your previous “ghost” times.

Max Wood, the fire chief of Gray, Georgia, suggests using Glass to improve safety by providing on-the-ground firefighters with maps showing hazards and escape routes and feeding real-time video to commanders who in turn would be able to instruct firefighters on where to locate victims and when to evacuate. [Image: Flickr user DVIBSHUB]

[Image: Google Glass]


About the author

Christina is an associate editor at Fast Company, where she writes about technology, social media, and business.


#FCFestival returns to NYC this September! Get your tickets today!