Google Glass , its concept, design and possible room to improve- a discussion document.

UPDATE ******

I just picked up this article in Engadget about Meta Pro.  Now this looks VERY interesting indeed.


One of the first things that struck me about the build of their immersive glasses is that they have built in surface tracking (think Microsoft Kinect) and gesture tracking (think Leap motion) and also an IMU (inertial measurement unit – think the core sensor of many Quadcopters) as well as HD displays etc etc. Check out their video… I WANT ONE OF THESE!!!


Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely believe Google Glass (or a similar wearable & connected device) will revolutionise multiple industries, eg. technical support, medicine, broadcast, navigation, marketing etc etc but in the absence of the opportunity to actually try them out I can only express an opinion abut the design and configuration as I understand it through the eyes of Glass Explorers…

So to begin lets look at What “Glass” is and What it can do…

If you are interested in a superb, forensic level teardown of the device then visit:

The Fundamentals are:

Optical Display | Main Logic Board | TouchPad | Microphone | Speaker | HD Camera | Battery


Image from This work is licensed under Creative Commons BY NC SA 3.0.

So my first observation is the DESIGN…for a first generation device I think Google did a pretty good job. The Titanium (bendable) frame is very slick and without the tinted glass lenses the device does look “quite” discreet- certainly compared to the earlier prototypes anyway!


See members of the Glass dev team talk about the prototypes here

But heres the thing, when you wear it you do look like a bit of a nerd, Im OK with that to be honest, I’ve carried a Leatherman on my belt for the last 15 years and have gotten quite used to the smartass “boy scout” remarks. But one thing does irk me, and that is the position of the prism/display. BBC’s Rory Cellan Jones referred to  the display as “what looks like a 20″ plasma hanging in the distance” but what I have yet to witness in reality is watching someone “look up to the right” to check the display. I genuinely wonder if one eye attempting to focus a few centimeters away and the other attempting to mimic the focal point but without any reference will be both a strain on my aging eye muscles and a long term RSI risk. Try it yourself…hold a finger in front of one eye (about an inch away from your face) and try to focus on it for more than a minute!

For a more detailed analysis of the potential risks with the offset display read this article on/by Steve Mann.

(Maybe there are some very clever prism di-opters in there to trick your right eye into believeing its focussing 3 meters away?)


VOICE RECOGNITION. I do think the voice recognition is a good idea, being able to be hands free all the time is very useful and the other benefit is that encouraging people to perform an action for you is VERY SIMPLE. If you consider CNNs plans to release a Google Glass App (GlassWare) especially for the iReport UGC project then it is possible to see how quickly Glass could be leveraged for getting content- potentially in realtime!

“OK Glass, Stream to YouTube” or “OK Glass, Stream to iReportLIVE” that’s a hell of a lot simpler than trying to encourage a member of the public to…Take out their mobile device, hold it horizontally, record some video, contact the newsroom to let them know you have some great UGC content, use your own mobile data allowance to upload it to the newsroom servers and wait for it to finish sending before getting confirmation its there, then wait for editorial review and note it may not be used – but while we have you on the phone can we ask you ten questions to establish who you are and whether you are a trustworthy source. PS-thanks for the effort!

With a device like Glass it will be possible to quickly establish where you are (GPS/GeoLocation data) Who you are via social media accounts, iReport user account etc and whether you are a power (repeat) user/contributor. Members of the public will start to feel like professional stringers!

In relation to VoiceRecog, hopefully the command list will expand so you can teach Glass to learn your voice patterns and then in time recognise complete sentences – the way Apples Siri does (is supposed to). The risk being something like this….(haha)

HD CAMERA – the Camera is HD, well 720p HD with a 5 megapixel photo resolution. There is room for improvement here, in February 2013, at the World Mobile Congress Aptina and Omnivision both announced they would be shipping a 13megapixel mobile imaging sensor that would be capable of record video at 4K resolution 25/30 fps. At the same conference Qualcomm announced they too, would have a new Chip, the Snapdragon 800 which is at the core of Samsung’s Galaxy Note III. One of the first smartphones (Android) capable of shooting at 4K resolution. For an interesting review of the Galaxy Note III 4K ability see renowned cameraman/director/DP Philip Blooms blog.

The other limitation is the storage within Glass – 12Gb of “useable” flash memory. Thats pretty meager when it comes to HD video and is probably part of the reason the camera is just 5mpx/720p. When shooting video the camera has a default record time of two minutes.


While on the topic of the camera,Image
can I introduce you to PivotHead – think GoPro in a pair of Sports Sunglasses. This is the Pivothead Durango Smoke, heres a snippit of some of its features…..
– Control: Connect your Pivotheads to your iOS or Android device with the Pivothead Mobile Apps to configure video recording and image capture settings, download files, and more.
– Video: One-button video capture | 1080p, 30fps | 720p, 60fps | 720p, 30fps
– Photos: Capture 8, 5, or 3 megapixel photos
– Timelapse: 6 setting modes for capturing full-resolution (8 megapixel)  time-lapse sequences
– Burst mode: Capture bursts of 3, 5, 10, or 16 images at full resolution

BATTERY The “One Day of Typical Use” line in the spec document above is a little of an overstatement. Maybe if you sleep for 22hours a day its true – but most reviews I’ve seen suggest about 2 hours operational time – particularly if shooting video.

I think its worth pointing out the latest developments in batteries designed using carbon nano-tubes and graphene. A recent article on highlighted a research project in New Jersey Institute of technology where the researchers managed to build a flexible carbon-nanotube battery. An article earlier in the year on outlined the potential of Graphene as a superconductor and how it could revolutionise the battery industry and electric car industry. However other new battery technology is on the doorstep too, Lithium Sulphur batteries claim 5 x the energy density of Lithium-Ion batteries and several companies are researching Lithium Air as an even more efficient solution. Bottom line: battery technology is finally developing at an ever increasing speed –its nowhere near Moore’s Law but its going in the right direction.

TOUCHPAD I guess the touchpad is there as a backup in case you run out of voice commands or develop laryngitis🙂 but seriously though, Ive seen several videos on you tube with users fumbling to navigate what is a fairly shallow control hierarchy. Its here that I think a smart watch or the like my actually have a use. If a smart watch (or mobile phone) was paired with the headset then you could probaly navigate the menus far quicker and more efficiently than swiping at the arm of the headset – and heres another possible use for the smart watch – what if it had a detachable microphone as part of the body which would act as a bluetooth or wifi microphone for the headset allowing you to actually record interviews with people witout sitting on their lap. If you are wondering what the hell Im talking about then take a look at the demo videos  from Robert Schoble.

Now heres where I start to wander off into my own little dream world where lots of different technologies collide/converge into a hodge-podge of ideas.

What if there was a wearable computer (like Glass) but that had…

1. A full HD or 4K camera in the centre of the frame, with a shutter to open/close it (for those paranoid folks)
2. Had a Transparent/Bendable OLED technology display that covers the entire visible surface of the glass to create a completely customiseable, immersive HUD (Heads up display)
3. Used Smart Glass technology to allow you to turn the glasses OPAQUE/Semi Transparent/TRANSPARENT with a flick of a switch.
Lets call that Privacy mode for the shits and giggles – so you can watch movie or immerse yourself in some serious Augmented Reality/ virtual reality games – with out the distraction of the real world beyond. Or maybe you just want to get some kip without taking the headset off?

Damn, I’m trying to decide is that more Terminator or Ironman???


This Glass uses a special film which when an electrical current is applied to it makes it “transparent” but when the current is switched off it becomes opaque:

Check out


Or how about an iPhone/Android Wifi controlled version?:

I noticed a tweet last night from Todd Smith (@Cisco_Mobile)

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 10.29.26

where he had picked up on an Apple patent for a wearable headset…see full patent info here

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 10.28.20

By the looks of things it is anything but discreet (gross understatement) but it does in fact very closely resemble the Occulus Rift Virtual Reality headset which has created a huge stir in the VR / Immersive gaming community.


So lets recap. When Glass goes public I for one really hope it will have a better camera, better battery life, more storage, pairable/wearbale controller (maybe a smart watch) wireless/bluetooth mic support and a more dynamic HUD- or maybe Apple will just come up with a real competitor for it?

Swivl by Satarii

Heres a neat iPhone accessory. SWIVL uses a motorised base that follows a radio transmitter in a fill 360º arc so if you attach your iPhone while on Skype or Facetime it will track you as you speak. Could this be a soultion to automate the shooting of Pieces to Camera for Mojos. Ill try to get my hands on one and let you know…ships early 2012. check out the site

Vodpod videos no longer available.

VidyoCast – IP based multi-source production system

VidyoCast. If you’ve heard of Vidyo then yes Vidyocast is indeed part of that group. Vidyo are best known for the innovative teleconferencing solutions. I recently saw a demo of their Vidyocast system for broadcast and I have to say I was impressed. They use a proprietary H264-SVC codec that is VERY impressive even over low-bandwith / internet connections. Ive been waiting for them to launch an iPhone App to allow remote (mobile based) contributions into their production suite, the VidyoRouter being the effective Brain of the system. Keep an eye on these guys- their like Skype on overdrive but with professional / broadcast / webtv in mind. A turnkey solution like this could close the gap on iPhone based two-way live reporting for web -oh and did I mention they include multi camera vision mixing, ifb, remote ip-based camera control, and custom graphics / key overlays as part of their product line!

Check out their H264-SVC demo from YouTube
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Associated Press Stylebook 2011 for iPhone etc, on the iTunes App Store








AP Stylebook 2011 for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad on the iTunes App Store
The Associated Press Stylebook is an essential tool for writers, editors, students and public relations professionals. It provides fundamental guidelines on spelling, grammar, punctuation, usage and journalistic style, with special sections on reporting business and sports.

Take the 2011 AP Stylebook with you anywhere with this easy-to-use application. This handy app lets you:

– Search listings across all chapters
– Create your own custom entries
– Add notes
– Bookmark frequently visited listings

Vadim Lavrusik: How journalists can make use of Facebook Pages » Nieman Journalism Lab » Pushing to the Future of Journalism

Vadim Lavrusik: How journalists can make use of Facebook Pages » Nieman Journalism Lab » Pushing to the Future of Journalism. Really interesting article, well worth a read for social media savvy journos…

Silicon Republic: MOBILE MAY: A beginner’s guide to smartphones

MOBILE MAY: A beginner’s guide to smartphones – Digital Life – Digital Life | – Ireland’s Technology News Service. As part of a feature on mobiles, Silicon Republic has published a number of up to date reviews on handsets, this concise introduction and a nifty short eMag using YuDu which I blogged about recently…see what you think.

Olympus LS-20M boasts dual mics and 1080p recording, split personality — Engadget

Olympus LS-20M boasts dual mics and 1080p recording, split personality — Engadget.

Photosynth App for iOS Impresses with Quick and Intuitive Panoramic Image Creation (free) | Carrypad

Photosynth App for iOS Impresses with Quick and Intuitive Panoramic Image Creation (free) | Carrypad.

Gizmodo’s Essential iPad Apps

Gizmodo’s Essential iPad Apps. Following hot on the heels of my iPad APP LIST here is Gizmodos must have list…

My iPad App must have list

Im still an iPad 1 user- I havent made the leap to the second generation for a number of reasons – but mainly the fact that my iPad 1 is barely a year old. Anyway in response to numerous recent discussions about favourite iPad Apps here is my shortlist…


RTE NEWSNOW €FREE RTÉ News Now for iPad has all the latest news, business, sport and entertainment stories from The iPad app features live video streaming as well as on demand video clips and podcasts from RTE’s top news and current affairs programmes.

SkyNews €FREE (limited offer) ky News for iPad – free for a limited period Sky News for iPad is a completely new way to put Breaking News in your hands, allowing you to decide what you watch and how you watch it. A world of live events, expert analysis and amazing graphics – all designed specifically for iPad . Key Features: 
Timeline: Follow the day’s news live as it unfolds and unravel key moments from the last 24 hours 
Top Stories: Keep track of the day’s biggest stories, prioritised by importance 
Live TV: Watch Sky News TV streaming live in full screen 
Full video functionality is currently only available in the UK and Ireland 

Adobe Ideas : €4.99 Adobe® Ideas is your digital sketchbook, letting you capture and explore ideas anywhere you go.

Nasa HD €FREE Come explore with NASA. Now on your iPad.
• Thousands of images from NASA IOTD, APOD and
• On demand NASA Videos from around the agency
• Live Streaming of NASA TV
• Current NASA Mission Information
• Launch Information & Countdown clocks
• Current Visible Passes for the International Space Station (ISS)
• ISS and Earth Orbiting Satellite Tracker and more…

GoogleEarth €FREE Hold the world in the palm of your hand. With Google Earth for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, you can fly to far corners of the planet with just the swipe of a finger. Explore the same global satellite and aerial imagery available in the desktop version of Google Earth, including high-resolution imagery for over half of the world’s population and a third of the world’s land mass.


AirVideo: €2.39 Enjoy your entire video collection everywhere! *
Get more of your video library on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Air Video is a great solution to watch your AVI, DivX, MKV and other videos.

DSLR Slate €7.99 DSLR Slate is the perfect companion for the DSLR Filmmaker. As a Universal App, DSLR Slate runs natively on iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Designed for all needs from student to hollywood, DSLR Slate will be just as useful as the traditional film slate, if not more. “Slating” shots has become standard practice on set and helps streamline shot logging.

Pocket Call Sheet €5.49 P.C.S. is the ONLY iPAD NATIVE Call Sheet application available on the App Store.

Dropbox €FREE Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. After you install Dropbox on your computer, any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, your iPhone and iPad and even the Dropbox website! With the Dropbox app, you can take everything that matters to you on the go.


Angry Birds HD: €3.99 The survival of the Angry Birds is at stake. Dish out revenge on the green pigs who stole the Birds’ eggs. Use the unique destructive powers of the Angry Birds to lay waste to the pigs’ fortified castles. Angry Birds features hours of gameplay, challenging physics-based castle demolition, and lots of replay value. Each of the 240 levels requires logic, skill, and brute force to crush the enemy.


Aweditorium:  FREE Aweditorium reimagines what a music experience feels like on iPad. It takes all of the disparate content surrounding an artist — beautiful photography, lyrics, high definition video, interviews — and ties it all together into a fun, intimate experience on a multi-touch display.

VEVO HD FREE Your iPad entertainment options just got a whole lot more exciting now that VEVO for iPad has arrived. VEVO’s free high-quality music & entertainment programming experience is now available within a gorgeous new app we built just for you and our favorite magical tablet.

DJAY €15.99 Ready to rock your next party? Introducing djay, algoriddim’s award-winning and highly acclaimed DJ software.djay transforms your iPad into a full–fledged DJ system and seamlessly integrates with your iPod library, giving you direct access to all your favorite tracks and playlists. A hyper–realistic touchscreen interface and ultra low–latency converge to offer you a true professional mixing experience, all with your own music. You can perform live, record mixes on–the–go, or enable Automix mode and let djay mix your favorite playlist from your iPod library auto–magically!

GarageBand €3.99 GarageBand turns your iPad into a collection of Touch Instruments and a full-featured recording studio — so you can make music anywhere you go. Use Multi-Touch gestures to play pianos, organs, guitars, drums, and basses on your iPad. They sound and play like their counterparts, but let you do things you could never do on a real instrument. Enjoy a full range of Smart Instruments that make you sound like a pro — even if you’ve never played a note before. Plug an electric guitar into your iPad and play through classic amps and stompbox effects. Use the built-in microphone or a guitar to record, or capture any performance. Then mix up to eight tracks to create a song you can share.


Bento : €3.99 Organize contacts, track projects, plan events, and manage things – all in one easy to use iPad personal database! Bento for iPad is one of the top iPad apps and the most popular personal database for iPad. Use it standalone or synchronize with Bento 4 for Mac, sold separately.


Flipboard €FREE Named Apple’s iPad App of the Year and one of TIME’s top 50 innovations of 2010, Flipboard is a fast, beautiful way to flip through the news, photos and updates your friends are sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, Flickr and Instagram. See your social media in a magazine layout that is easy to scan and fun to read.

Taptu: €FREE Taptu is a social news feed reader that puts all of the stuff you’re into in one beautiful little app. Taptu lets you add your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the content from your favorite web sites and blogs (via RSS feeds or Twitter) and transforms them into gorgeous visual streams. Found a news article or stream you like? Share with friends…

News.Me €FREE to install but in App subscription required. is a different kind of social news experience that shows you not just what your friends are sharing, but what they are reading as well. Have some friends with impeccable taste in music? Find out about new artists from the same places they do. Curious what Steven Johnson or Nicholas Kristof has been reading lately? Browse through their streams and find out.

ZITE: €FREE Zite is a personalized magazine for your iPad that automatically learns what you like and gets smarter as you use it. Zite gives you personalized news, articles, blogs, videos and other content from a variety of both mainstream and niche publications and sites. Zite can personalize by syncing with your Twitter or Google Reader account or on its own.


MagCloud €FREE HP’s MagCloud is the web’s first print-on-demand magazine service. With the MagCloud app, you can discover, buy, download, and view the best new magazines in a gorgeous full-color digital format that looks great and is as easy to use.

Zinio €FREE Zinio is the world’s premier high fidelity mobile reading experience, with the best magazines from around the world, in pure digital form. Zinio lets you read and share articles from top titles, buy digital subscriptions or single issues, and manage your library on multiple devices. Read what you like!

Kindle: €FREE The Kindle app is optimized for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, giving users the ability to read Kindle books on a beautiful, easy-to-use interface. You’ll have access to over 900,000* books in the Kindle Store, including best sellers and new releases. Amazon Whispersync automatically syncs your last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across devices (including Kindle), so you can pick up where you left off on another device.

The IrishTimes ePaper €FREE to install but in App subscription required Read The Irish Times in true printed format, enhanced with the latest digital tools. Flip pages, pan and zoom in to view any page, article or photo in stunning clarity. Link to your existing epaper account to download the paper wherever you are. New subscribers can choose from a range of options, from €1.90 for a single edition to an annual subscription of €160.

This list is far from exhaustive but these are some (not all) of my favourite Apps on the iPad1 – All to the best of my knowledge will run on iPad2 with no issues. 


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