Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Google Begins Testing Its Augmented-Reality Glasses - futuristic glasses that look like a prop from “Star Trek,” -

Google Begins Testing Its Augmented-Reality Glasses - futuristic glasses that look like a prop from “Star Trek,”  - 

If you venture into a coffee shop in the coming months and see someone with a pair of futuristic glasses that look like a prop from “Star Trek,” don’t worry. It’s probably just a Google employee testing the company’s new augmented-reality glasses.

On Wednesday, Google gave people a clearer picture of its secret initiative called Project Glass. The glasses are the company’s first venture into wearable computing.

The glasses are not yet for sale. Google will, however, be testing them in public.

In a post shared on Google Plus, employees in the company laboratory known as Google X, including Babak Parviz, Steve Lee and Sebastian Thrun, asked people for input about the prototype of Project Glass. Mr. Lee, a Google product manager and originally worked on Google mapping software Latitude, mobile maps and indoor maps, is responsible for the software component and the location-based aspects of the glasses.

“We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input,” the three employees wrote. “Please follow along as we share some of our ideas and stories. We’d love to hear yours, too. What would you like to see from Project Glass?”

The prototype version Google showed off on Wednesday looked like a very polished and well-designed pair of wrap-around glasses with a clear display that sits above the eye. The glasses can stream information to the lenses and allow the wearer to send and receive messages through voice commands. There is also a built-in camera to record video and take pictures.

The New York Times first wrote about the glasses in late February, describing an augmented-reality display that would sit over the eye and run on the Android mobile platform.

A video released by Google on Wednesday, which can be seen below, showed potential uses for Project Glass. A man wanders around the streets of New York City, communicating with friends, seeing maps and information, and snapping pictures. It concludes with him video-chatting with a girlfriend as the sun sets over the city. All of this is seen through the augmented-reality glasses.

Project Glass could hypothetically become Project Contact Lens. Mr. Parviz, who is also an associate professor at the University of Washington, specializes in bionanotechnology, which is the fusion of tiny technologies and biology. He most recently built a tiny contact lens that has embedded electronics and can display pixels to a person’s eye.

Early reports of the glasses said prototypes could look like a pair of Oakley Thumps — which are clunky and obtrusive sunglasses — but the version Google unveiled Wednesday looks more graceful. There are reportedly dozens of other shapes and variations of the glasses in the works, some of which can sit over a person’s normal eyeglasses.

People I have spoken with who have have seen Project Glass said there is a misconception that the glasses will interfere with people’s daily life too much, constantly streaming information to them and distracting from the real world. But these people said the glasses actually free people up from technology.

One person who had used the glasses said: “They let technology get out of your way. If I want to take a picture I don’t have to reach into my pocket and take out my phone; I just press a button at the top of the glasses and that’s it.”

Project Glass is one of many projects currently being built inside the Google X offices, a secretive laboratory near Google’s main Mountain View, Calif., campus where engineers and scientists are also working on robots and space elevators.

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Google Street View Takes a Virtual Tour of the White House - leisurely wander around the WH without being detained -

Google Street View Takes a Virtual Tour of the White House - leisurely wander around the WH without being detained - 

Fresh from a jaunt along the Rio Negro, Google is digitizing the interior of the First Family's mansion. Now you can leisurely wander around the White House without being detained by the Secret Service.
Google's employing the same 360-degree HD cameras as it uses to document museums and art galleries for the Google Art Project which launched last year. The virtual tour will follow the same route as the public walking tour you'd get if you actually visited the White House.
"Thousands of people have walked these halls and gazed at the artwork," the First Lady said in a statement, "They've examined the portraits of Washington, Lincoln and Kennedy. They have imagined the history that has unfolded her. And now you can do all of that without leaving your home." Head over to the Google Art Project's White House page to look around.

Dog eats man’s Masters tickets right before he leaves for Augusta -

Dog eats man’s Masters tickets right before he leaves for Augusta - 

Ever heard the excuse, "The dog ate my homework"? Some of us may have actually used that line at one point or another in an attempt to get out of doing our homework in school.
Well, folks, it looks like we got the saying wrong. Dogs apparently don't like homework, but they sure do like tickets to the Masters.
The photo you see to your right would be one of Russ Berkman's four tickets to Wednesday's Masters practice round. The Seattle resident hit the jackpot and was all set to enjoy some time golfing and hanging out with a couple of buddies before heading to Augusta to take in the course and the Par-3 Contest.
It sounded like a perfect plan ... until Berkman came home to find his dog, Sierra, had eaten all four of his tickets. I guess his dog didn't appreciate being left out of the trip.
As Berkman told sports radio station KJR in Seattle, he was at a loss for words when he came home to find the strings from the tickets — and only the strings — lying on the floor.

Masters trip canceled, right? Wrong. Berkman ended up feeding his dog Hydrogen peroxide — it's safe for animals to ingest — in an effort to get his dog to puke the tickets back up. The trick worked, leaving Berkman with a pile of puke and ticket pieces.
But the story gets better. Instead of cleaning up the mess, the guy went through the puke, piecing the tickets back together in an attempt to keep to the trip on track. That's what you call dedication.
With the pieces of the tickets and photographic evidence, Berkman made the call to see if Augusta would consider giving him new passes. Thankfully, tournament officials had a sense of humor and made it easy on Berkman, reissuing him four new tickets.
If you take only one thing away from this story, make sure you never leave your Masters tickets in a spot where the family dog has access to them. Doing so could leave you with a real headache ... and lots of puke.

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