Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bacon Bits: Breaking the Google Glass Ceiling

By Everette Bacon

Last month I was able to attend the California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Assistive Technology conference in San Diego. There were many different kinds of technology available for me to try, but the one that got me really excited to try was Google Glass.
Google Glass

Now you may ask, why would a totally blind person care at all about Google Glass? 

Well, I am an iPhone user and the idea of not having to pull out my phone wherever I am to get access to information sounds really intriguing! You see, I always have a cane in one hand and many times, I like to have a Starbucks Latte in the other. This means no way to use my trusty iPhone! And I know that God never intended for me to choose between Starbucks, my phone, and my long white cane. 

Google glass is something you wear. It is similar to a pair of glasses, only there is a small mirror-like screen that sits in front of your right eye and nothing in front of your left. To a sighted person, the little mirror could be a bit distracting, but to a blind guy like me, who cares? 

You can control the glasses just by talking. You can also use a finger touching the side of the right frame to control the device, but talking to it means you don't have to choose between refreshment and necessity. Google Glass has every capability of any Smartphone out there. 

As a blind person, I can use it to figure out my money, take pictures of print so it can read it to me, figure out which tie looks good with which shirt in my closet, get directions to the nearest eating establishments or local bar, and so much more! 

I could also see this being a great help by giving access to many areas that isn't expected for blind people to be able to do. It will eventually be able to help me navigate a new building by telling me where the restrooms are or where a certain room number is located. 

Google Glass will even be able to even do facial recognition. This means I don’t have to always remember voices. The possibilities are endless and I am excited about the future of being able to “see” the world throughout the eyes of Google Glass!

Everette BaconBacon Bits is a recurring post by Everette Bacon, president of the Utah National Federation of the Blind, supervisor of technology and employment at the Utah Division of Services for the Blind, and friend of UATP. You can follow Everette on Twitter @baconev. 

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