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Who would spend $1500 on Google Glass only to tear it apart to see what makes it tick? SparkFun Electronics, that's who! During last weekend's Autonomous Vehicle Competition hosted by SparkFun, company founder Nate Seidel learned that two of his friends would be picking up their pair of Google's Glass after the competition. Being the good friend he is, Nate offered to pay for the glasses if he could reduce them to the individual components it is made from.
Luckily for us, friends Scott Torborg and Star Simpson agreed to the tear down, something I am sure any hacker worth their soldering iron would do! Good guy SparkFun posted the initial images from the teardown but opted to leave the meat and bones of the post to Scott to feature on his personal website. (source #2)
I won't cover the entire teardown here, but the hackers did note that while the tear down did require some specialized tools, and a high level of skill, if one is very careful and patient, they could easily teardown and rebuild Glass with no noticeable side effects. It appears that Glass is comprised of just 12 hardware sets, with the motherboard and camera / display mechanical assembly being the largest.
Technology just doesn't slow down, with researchers at multiple institutions working on a new technology that will see future smart contact lenses. The team has developed "transparent, highly conductive, and stretchy mix of graphene and silver nanowires" that gets attached to an off-the-shelf soft contact lens, giving it Google Glass-like features.
The technology was tested on rabbits first, as they have similar eyes to humans and were found to be fully functional. The researchers did note that the rabbits didn't try to rub their eyes, or did they grow bloodshot during the five hours of testing. Research leader, Jang-Ung Park, a chemical engineer at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology said:
Our goal is to make a wearable contact-lens display that can do all the things Google Glass can do.
Google's Larry Page says privacy concerns over Glass are being blown out of proportion and it's not really that big of a deal
Google's CEO Larry Page is once again attempting to reassure consumers that the concerns over privacy when it comes to Google Glass are unwarranted and being blown out of proportion by the media. Page said that privacy fears will fade as people become accustomed to the new technology noting that "it's not that big of a concern."
He went on to compare using Glass to take an image or video in much the same way one would use their smartphone to capture a photo or video. Page said "you don't collapse in terror that someone might be using glass in the bathroom just the same as your class in terror when someone comes in with a smartphone that might take a picture."
This reassurance beach comes on the heels of a month of numerous privacy concerns surrounding Glass. Google has said that it will not approve apps with facial recognition features, and even had to defend itself to the U.S. Congress who wrote a letter to Google asking if Glass "could infringe on the privacy of the average American"
Apple has reportedly filed to trademark the term iWatch in Russia. The report comes courtesy of Izvestia, a Russian newspaper, and states that Apple has filed an application for two International Classification of Goods and Services trademarks. The first is a 9th grade of Nice Classification, which covers computers and peripherals. The second is under the 14th classification, which relates to "hours."
The newspaper report says that the first trademark application for iWatch was filed in Jamaica on December 3, 2012. Around that time, the Apple rumor mill started pumping out rumors of an impending iWatch device. Of course, a trademark doesn't mean they are currently making an iWatch; the actual product could still be years off in the future.
This morning, we have learned of a new patent that was awarded to Google that could allow Google Glass users to unlock their device by simply moving their eyes. This could open up all sorts of possibilities not only for use within Google Glass, but for further augmented reality situations.
US patent application number 20130135204 is described by Google as "Methods and systems for unlocking a screen using eye tracking information." It appears that Glass would display some sort of moving objects such as a bird flying across the screen. It would then track your eye movement and if everything is correct, it would unlock your screen.
"The computing system may determine that a path associated with the eye movement of the user substantially matches a path associated with the moving object on the display and switch to be in an unlocked mode of operation including unlocking the screen," the company said in the filing. To me, it seems that eye tracking technology is a given for Google Glass and I kind of expected it to be there from the beginning.
Google have taken to their Project Glass Google+ page to address privacy concerns over facial recognition apps being built for Glass. Google have addressed the public about this subject because there are plenty of people with Google Glass Explorer Edition units.
There's still ongoing worries about privacy over the use of the wearable technology, especially if people start writing Glassware (apps for Glass) that are capable of facial recognition. Google have said they're listening to feedback from early users of Glass and will continue working on their policies on facial recognition software in the near future. What I like to see is that Google are actually listening, and addressing the public over this, instead of not tackling the concerns of people and their privacy.
In an interview with ZDnet journalist Violet Blue, adult app maker MiKandi confirmed rumors that it is working on an adult app for Google's Project Glass. MiKandi has recently grown to become the largest adult app developer for Android and features its creations on its own app store, the MiKandi Store.
"Google Glass Porn has been making its rounds, and while studios are intrigued, no one seems to be doing anything about it, we picked up our Glass and, yup, we're making content for it," said Jennifer McEwen, co-founder of MiKandi "As far as I know, we're one of the few, if not the only, adult companies with the device right now. So far, it's really fun!"
She went on to say:
"We're experimenting with the features of Glass. From our initial use of the device, photo and video recording is more powerful than we expected. Obviously, Glass is perfect for shooting POV video, so we're experimenting with that first. But what's really interesting about Glass is that it's not just a hands free camera. It can receive and send data, so there are a lot of interesting interactions that we want to explore. with Glass you can share and interact with fans and followers, allowing them intimate access to your experiences."
Recently Google's Larry Page took a trip to Samsung's OLED production facility and was so impressed that he agreed to a deal that secured Samsung as the official display provider for Google Glass. This news comes via The Korea Times, where an official of a parts supplier for Samsung Display said, "Samsung will supply its high-end OLED screens for Google Glass."
This statement seems to be backed up by hints dropped at a recent keynote speech given by Samsung Display CEO Kim Ki-nam who explicitly referenced Google Glass several times during his talk on the potential uses of Samsung OLED product. With recent advances in flexible OLED technology, we can only hope that we will see a bendable, hard to break screen in the production version of Google Glass.
In other Glass news, Google announced this week that the winners of its #ifihadglass contest will start receiving their headgear soon. For the rest of us, there's still about a year to go until we will be able to don the title of official Glasshole.
If you were expecting Apple to unveil a watch-like device, something along the lines of an iWatch, then you might have to wait until late 2014 according to a KGI Securities analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo says that Apple "may not have adequate resources" to develop a version of iOS for the wearable device, which might be the reason behind iOS 7.
Kuo thinks that Apple will cram a 1.5- to 2-inch screen, as well as biometric security thanks to their acquisition of AuthenTec for $356 million. This delay until late 2014 could really hurt Apple's chances of their wearable device being successful, especially if other companies beat them to the punch.
Google is continuing to expand the Glass Explorer Program and has announced that #ifihadglass winners will start receiving invitations "over the next few weeks" to try Glass out. If you missed out on the competition, you're currently out of luck. Google has announced that they aren't taking any more applications right now.
According to Google, the company is "thrilled to be moving into the next phase of our Explorer Program and we hope to expand in the future." We're also excited that Google is moving forward with Glass. We can't wait to get our hands on Glass as it really seems like the next logical step for technology.
We'll keep you in the loop with the latest in Google Glass news.