Library visitors get a glimpse of the future

Google Glass, the trendy new wearable computer, was featured at the Berlin-Peck Memorial Library April 26. The Glass experience is kind of like watching a sci-fi movie – a screen appears in the upper right corner of your vision. Although many of Glass’ functions are activated via voice command, the side of the glasses is a touch screen.

Coleman Kelly, who ran the Glass event, attended by some 25 people, said folks were impressed by the technology.

Kelly instructed people in how to use the pair of Glass, which even fit and function correctly over a pair of prescription glasses.

The original Glass prototype was eight pounds, but the current device weighs only 50 grams, lighter than an average pair of sunglasses. With this weight, it boasts an impressive 16 Gb of memory and 1 Gb of RAM. “It’s a wearable computer,” Kelly said.

Attendees were impressed with the technology, but were quick to wonder about the practicality of such a device.

Kelly showed videos, provided by Google, demonstrating some interesting applications – for example, a firefighter downloading a building plan to display a map without interrupting his rescue efforts.

“Some of the coolest applications,” according to Kelly, are in the medical field. Because Glass features instant video conferencing that allows another person to see what you see, surgeons can get an instant second opinion from another doctor.

It also would allow Emergency Medical Technician’s to get advice from a doctor the minute they arrive on the scene. “For some people, a 20-minute ride to the hospital is too long,” Kelly said. “A doctor can give EMT’s life-saving instructions at the scene of the accident.”

The reception for Glass has been mixed. Some have been critical of its concept as a consumer product because of the cost – currently $1,500 – and with only limited availability to the “Explorers” who are piloting the product.

Google said the consumer edition will cost significantly less.

Kelly said attendees at the Glass event were “actually surprised it didn’t cost even more money. Once you try it on, it’s amazing the things you can do with it.”

And Kelly said the product has exciting potential as more apps are developed.

Some attendees wondered if Glass is safe to drive with, Kelly said. According to Reuters, Google has been trying to persuade legislators in Illinois, Delaware, and Missouri, that optical display devices like Glass are safe for users behind the wheel.

One of Glass’s functions is to provide a GPS map and directions, practical applications for drivers.

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