In recent efforts to compete with the unsurpassable Apple products, Google has released its newest creation: Project Glass. The Project Glass sector of Google has been working to develop glasses that essentially function exactly as the iPhone does, but commands are entirely voice activated and no hands are necessary.
The Project Glass promotional video depicts a man going about his daily life—scheduling meetings, taking pictures, listening to music, getting directions, and even video chatting—all via a glasses lens that covers his right eye. The product has caused quite a commotion on the Internet as people submit their feedback and opinions. Many believe that Project Glass is enhancing reality in a manner that is unnecessary and distracting, while others believe that it actually frees people from the handheld confinements and distractions of technology.
Although I have not yet formed an opinion on how I feel about Project Glass’s everyday use, if this product were available in times of emergency, it would aid all aspects of response. Granted the proper networking would be necessary, if emergency response teams had access to this product they could receive instant information—be it videos, 911 calls, or health information—without pausing their work. In times when debris or smoke are causing vision handicaps, the lens could lead them to safety and it is not a device that would need to be carried around. News feeds can stream information from social media or other networks, informing rescue teams of additional precautions that they should take or jobs that they should attend to. Responders have the opportunity to respond to media quickly so that followers and other organizations and response teams can be informed of situations as they change rapidly. In regards to health care, the view sharing tool could allow for doctors in other places to easily evaluate patients and instruct lesser health care providers on how to treat them.
Really, Project Glass is not very different from the current iPhone, but I believe that when applied to disaster response, its handheld features it becomes more of a survival tool than a toy. Many are anxiously awaiting the official release of the product and it will be interesting to see the price and logistics of how it receives information, but for now Google has created a wave of controversial response to increase anticipation and publicity.
Here is a link outlining Google glasses.