Google Glass Early Adopters Want To Build Learning, Healthcare, Accessibility & Safety Apps

Glass winners

Wondering who has won a Google Glass? Stanford PhD student Andrej Karpathy has used Twitter’s API to compile a partial list of the so far close to 4,000 winners of Google’s Glass Explorers first adopter competition who applied to buy the high tech specs via Twitter. Google still hasn’t confirmed that the last Glass winners have been named yet so there may yet be a few more invites to go out. Update: Karpathy’s list has now been updated to 4238 people, so Glass invites are still going out today.

Big G has been busy this past week sending out notifications to winners of its #ifihadglass purchase campaign (and even rescinding a few that failed to live up to its T&Cs). Winners don’t actually win a free pair of Glass. Rather they get a VIP pass to spend $ 1,500 to be among the first group of folks to own a pair of the Glass Explorer Edition of Google’s high tech specs. So it’s a high stakes, high visibility marketing competition as Google seeks to both evangelise, humanise and normalise a technology that’s new, different and impossible to ignore — being as it sits right on the face.

Successful applicants on the Twitter list (whose Twitter descriptions are shown above in Word Cloud form) include famous names such as former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who pledged “#ifihadglass i would take it on tours of zoos and museums to share the animals and fossils”, and — at the polar opposite end of the celebrity spectrum — electronica singer songwriter Imogen Heap who wants to ”hook them up w/my gloves to help me navigate music making in 3D”.

As you’d expect, the list of winners is heavy on performers and extroverts promising to livestream their gig/music/show/art/sports activity/skydive. There are also a fair few marketing types — pledging to do stuff like “learn & write how it will change marketing & brands”. But — more interesting than either of these categories — are the developers with app ideas for Glass. Earlier this month Google demoed some of its own Glass apps such as Gmail, and also showed a few third party apps from the likes of the New York Times, Evernote and Path. But Glass will fly or die based on cool new apps that likely don’t exist on other platforms yet.

I’ve collated a list (see below) of some of the app ideas that Glass winners are pledging to create — and, beyond the obvious use-cases of recording and streaming a first person perspective, themes for potential Glass apps are already emerging. Education, healthcare, accessibility and safety application ideas are plentiful among this wave of Glass early adopters (albeit, these developers likely haven’t had a chance to properly live with Glass yet).

It looks likely that Glass will be the tech arena where augmented reality can seriously take off — thanks to both the natural visual overlay and the hands-free nature of the device. On smartphones and tablets AR remains something of a gimmick, since the user has to hold the device up to create a field-of-vision overlay — limiting how they can interact with it and how long they can use it for. Neither are problems for Glass.

I would create information retrieval apps that work with the Glass #ifihadglass – like repair information, etc. [link]

we build an entirely new shopping app leveraging the power of glass+android. [link]

I’d make a app so that little “icons of trust” hover over user heads. I’d know who to trust, instantly/ [link]

I’d build an application for travelers to keep in touch with their loved ones. Show beauty is in the eye of the Glass holder. [link]

I’d develop a micro-expression detector that would enable appropriate responses to the sometimes subtle reactions in others.  [link]

I would develop innovative apps for publications [link]

I’d create an app that had real-time information about cabs when you looked at their taxi number using AR #ifihadglass [link]

Being partially blind, #ifihadglass I’d use it to augment my lack of peripheral vision, use presence apps to avoid bumping into others, etc.[link]

I’d help develop new applications for its use in health & medicine & inspire others to as well [link]

I’d write apps for smartwatches that display tokens for the Glass to pick up and display expanded information @projectglass [link]

I’d make mashups with @LeapMotionDev for augmented reality apps like these and evangelize to devs [link]

I would develop a driving safety app to help decrease driver distraction, detect drowsiness, and display upcoming road concerns [link]

I’d create a ski app to show you speed, distance, calories. Take action pics in series. Add sensors to jacket for more safety. [link]

i’d create a skill/barter app where people could indicate skills/goods they have/need for trade. Haves/needs appear overhead.[link]

I’d create the ultimate nerd app — crosshairs. [link]

I create an app to show people how much carbon energy they were using. [link]

develop apps that can be useful for parents and children like medical [link]

I’d make an app that converts the sheet music you see into a MIDI file. =D [link]

I’d explore applications for education [link]

I would build apps for people who shop. [link]

I would create an input and recall application for – an app that enables us to capture, share and remember our life. [link]

I would build an app to display key running and heart rate data to me while I run and bike/ [link]

I’d create an app called momento that allowed me to remember where things are by using playback. [link]

I would build applications for dentists, doctors, and manufacturers to empower the industrial AR dream. [link]

I would build a dating app (that would inevitably be deemed creepy). [link]

i’d create an app to help ppl with their dieting/eating habits by showing you nutrition info for things you eat. (hook me up) [link]

I will create a face recognition app to remind me the name of the people I meet and count how much time I spend with them. [link]

I would explore and write about the possible retail applications… i.e., shop my glass off [link]

I would develop a location and image recognition based augmented reality app for blind or visually impaired people. [link]

I would build a persistent knowledge AI: build an application to automatically bring search results apropos of conversation [link]

I would develop some kind of app to help children develop art skills. [link]

I would immediately start on my commute/family trip tracking assistance app, and wear glass daily on… [link]

To prevent and reduce obesity, with an app that records physical activity and food intake to provide nutritional guide #ifihadglass [link]

Check out Tour, a concept guided tour app for Google Glass #ifihadglass . Making the invisible visible [link]

I would write an app to identify lawmakers on the fly. A covert visual shazam. [link]

I’d write an app to make it easier to read nutrition facts on processed food [link]

We would use our AR to make the best ever #travel app with information about monument/landscape and boards translation overlay #ifihadglass[link]

I want to make an app that helps deaf people “see” what others are talking about. [link]

I would build a speedometer app to track my top and average speeds while luging, [link]

build an app that suggests people to meet based on who is nearby. [link]

I would write a running app that would show the @strava route names and course records of whatever streets I was running on[link]

I would use the heads-up/subject-overlay attributes to make better apps for healthcare professionals, researchers and students [link]

I would work to find applications for its use in hospitals and other healthcare settings. [link]

I would create GhostRunner. An application that enables me to run against my own best time. Visually. [link]

I would create an app that uses facial recognition to reunite lost pets with their parents #ifihadglass [link]

I would build an app capable of taking billboards, and replacing them with things you are trying to remember (or cat pictures).[link]

I would create an app to have the “Yellow Line” at football games in real life. [link]

I would create a Marine Navigation application for both the casual cruiser and racing sailor #WindSpeed #BuoyLocations [link]

Customer service application that utilizes live video from callers to walk them through solutions #ifihadglass [link]

I’d build an app to identify fashion on the street and find a place to purchase it. #iloveyourdress #wheredidyougetit [link]

I’d write an app that records a minute buffer of video that will save to Google Drive on command. Document amazing things. [link]

I would make a doorbell app, so I could see who’s knocking and easily let them in. [link]

#ifihadglass remind people of their appointments, would use Google maps to figure out when to send reminder, ie farther away, earlier ping [link]

Innovate: App 2 reduce gun violence! [link]

Hands-free teaching! No longer tethered to a laptop or Elmo, limitless creative & practical classrm applications! [link]

Hate it when your Dr. always looks down during your appointment? I’m going to change that with Glass. #ifihadglass [link]

I would create an app to let general aviation pilots prep and fly their airplanes via checklists they can see in the glass. [link]

I’d build in voice-control for all of our features in our products so that customers could use our apps while on the treadmill. [link]

I will test my AR android app for climbing, suggesting improvements, and sharing this experience with the climbing community[link]

I would create an app that would make people, especially young women like myself, feel safe in their current surroundings. [link]

I will develop a driver-training app to detect improper driving behaviors and provide training feedback. [link]

I would develop an application to enable the communication with deaf people by showing a live transcription in Google Glass 1/2 [link]

develop an application for musicians, by entering into a database that would help tablature to play the instrument [link]

I would develop an app that could suggest desired recipes by simply looking into my fridge and scanning its food items [link]

i’d develop an app to help waiters keep track of tables, orders and customer preferences [link]

i would create an app measuring stress levels by the size of your pupils. Data could show stress visualised across the world [link]

I would create a gps app that gave historical information. [link]

I’d develop an app that would alert parents when their teenager isn’t paying attention to the road while driving. [link]

4 Architecture app Glasses could be conected with SketchUp so the clients could se the building proposals directlly on site. [link]

Develop app integrating BIM – construction workers build with greater speed and accuracy – designers visualize concepts in situ [link]

I’d create apps for retailers to survey merchandise, check stock and order replenishments automatically – by looking at shelves [link]

I’d build an app to help first responders get the information they need while keeping their eyes on the subject. [link]

Make an app or hardware mod that understands mood to change UX (based on pupil dilation) #ifihadglass [link]

I would construct a real-time medical history taking app that would record & upload doctor/patient interactions into an EMR! [link]

I’d make apps to control all my Internet of Things with #[email protected][link]

I would develop an application that makes home improvement projects easier by replacing measuring tapes and standard box levels [link]

I would develop location aware applications, like auto translate of detected text, information on objects seen etc. [link]

Program smart subtitles to reality. Hyperlink objects. Design apps for self-directed learning #edtech [link]

I would design an app to notify the deaf when a loud noise identifies a hazard outside of their field of view [link]

Use it to create an app the rewards users when they throw their trash away, would take pics to validate it [link]

I would make an application that enables users to crowdsource live coverage of public events. #youtube2 [link]

Think about applications for use with kids and learning disabilities. [link]

I would make them Wi-Fi intuitive with app support so that you can use them to adjust settings on your DSLR or GoPro. [link]

I’d build tools to make quantifying the self across multiple domains easier, more transparent, and more effective than ever. [link]

I’d build info sharing tools for enriching IRL conversations. If I search for something, the friends with me should see result. [link]

TechCrunch » Gadgets

Facebook’s Android Homescreen Could Expose Apple’s Inflexibility

Game Of Phones Sigils

The mainstream has had little reason to care that Android gives developers much more customization freedom than iOS. But if Facebook’s fabled Android homescreen is a hit, the stubbornness of Apple’s closed mobile platform could be framed as a drawback after years of its cohesive design and ease being seen as assets.

Cheapness and handset/carrier choice are two of the biggest factors convincing people to pick up Android phones today. There’s its premier integration of Google’s app suite and the “rebel without an iPhone” attitude too. But Android’s flexibility for app developers has been more of a selling point for geeks and early adopters than for the average Joe.

Meanwhile, the straight forward “it just works” aspect of iOS that leans on its rigidity has made it a popular introduction to smartphones for hundreds of millions of people. There just hasn’t been a killer brand name app to grab the mainstream’s attention that depends on Android’s cooperative architecture and that iOS won’t support. No one has forced the issue of open vs closed on the common man.

But six years after the iPhone’s debut, the average mobile consumer has matured. They crave more personalization through homescreen widgets and custom launchers. They want to make their phone truly theirs. The mobile world may finally have reached the turning point where the benefits of Android’s customization outweigh the benefits of iOS’ simplicity. And it’s Facebook homescreen for Android that could crystallize this moment.

Last week, Facebook sent out invites to a big press event to “see our new home on Android”. My sources got us the scoop that Facebook plans to unveil a new homescreen for Android that pipes in its news feed content and notifications for instant access. We’re told this experience will be debuted on an HTC handset running a version of Android that’s been modified by Facebook. The homescreen replacement is also likely to make its way to other handsets, either in the form a launcher app that can run on standard Android builds, or through Facebook partnerships with other OEMs.

The kicker is that Facebook’s homescreen cannot run on iOS as it exists today.

Now, for any of this to actually alter the mobile landscape, Facebook “Home” as it may be called will have to be a real success. Not just “Oh that looks cool”, but “I need to have that on my phone”. A lot people will never say that, because they just don’t care that much about Facebook. Beyond that, it may be tough to add a lot of value on top of the full-featured Facebook For Android app that’s just a few taps away.

Still, it’s possible that Facebook’ heads up display, a sixth sense for your social life, could be good enough to shift the balance in the Game Of Phones. Even if not directly or immediately, the mere existence of Facebook Home could bring the open/closed debate into the sphere of public consciousness. In that sense, it could at least begin to generate momentum for Android’s “do as you please” ecosystem.

Apple is typically resistant to diverging from its roadmap to head off potential threats. As I’ve said, Apple doesn’t care what competitors do. But if it stays locked down, we might outgrow its hand-holding. For all Google’s talk off Android being open, it could take Facebook to make us realize its liberty we really want.

Read more about Facebook’s big new Android project:

Facebook To Reveal “Home On Android” Sources Say Is A Modified OS On HTC At 4/4 Event

Facebook’s “Home” On Android Could Give You A Sixth Sense For Your Social Life

TechCrunch » android

256 Shades Of Grey


I want a black and white computer, and I don’t want it out of sheer, wanton weirdness. I actually think it’s a good idea. Here’s why.

A huge, huge proportion of the content we consume every day is text. And, for many, an equal proportion of what they work with is text — be it code, email, or published content like this. For the consumption and creation of text, a monochrome display is all that is necessary, and in some ways even superior to a color one.

Pixels on an LCD like the one on which you’re probably reading this are made up of dots or sub-pixels — usually one red, one green, and one blue. The transistor matrix changes the opacity of a sub-pixel of a given color, and by working together they can create millions of hues and shades. But they work (with a few exceptions such as sub-pixel font smoothing and pentile layouts) only as triads, meaning a display with a resolution of 5760 by 3240 addressable dots has just 1920×1080 addressable pixels. (This is the reason why simply desaturating the image does not improve the resolution.)

If the iPad were monochrome, it would have nearly 800 pixels per inch

Consequently, if you were to remove the color filters, each sub-pixel would become a pixel — all only able to show shades of grey, of course, but pixels nonetheless, and far more of them than there were before. Result: extremely high spatial resolution, far beyond the so-called “retina” point, even at close range. If the iPad were monochrome, it would have nearly 800 pixels per inch. That’s beyond even glossy magazine levels of sharpness, a dream for rendering type.

It would also be brighter, or put another way, would require less backlight, since the removal of the filters allows far more light to pass through. That saves battery. Also saving battery is the reduced amount of graphics processing power and RAM necessary to store and alter the screen state, and so on. Small things, but not insignificant.

It would, of course, retain all of the other benefits of a modern, connected device, remaining as responsive and powerful as any other laptop or tablet, just minus the color. Logistically speaking, adapting existing content would not be that problematic (“time-shifting” apps and other extractors already do this). And it’s more than a glorified e-reader: the limitations of that type of hardware are lethal to many of the methods in which we are now accustomed to finding, consuming, and creating content (to say nothing of the screen quality).

Why black and white? Well, why color?

But what the hell is the point, you ask, if it’s not in color? The web is in color. The world is in color!

Your Instagram feed won’t be quite as striking in greyscale, it’s true. Rich media wasn’t designed for monochrome, and shouldn’t be forced into it. It demands color, and deserves it. Obviously you wouldn’t want to browse Reddit or edit video on a monochrome display. But if something does not require color, it seems pointless to provide it, especially when doing so has real drawbacks.

You’ve seen the apps that prevent procrastination, or make the user focus on a task, by blocking out distractions and the like. At some times, we want a tool that does one thing, and at other times, we want a tool that does others. That’s why computers are so great: They can switch between, say, text-focused work mode and image-focused movie mode in an instant.

They’re like Swiss Army knives: a corkscrew one minute and a can opener the next. But, as I tried to suggest in my previous column, if you tend to open a lot of wine bottles and very few cans, wouldn’t you prefer that you had a dedicated wine opener, without a bunch of other tools attached? That it can’t open a can is tragic, but more than made up for by its facility in its chosen task.

There will always be a place for the essential alone

I believe some people would not only be unperturbed by an inability to watch videos or what have you — in fact, they may prefer it. We already have different computing tools for different purposes, and we don’t demand that they all do everything — I have a laptop so I can write, as I am at the present, while enjoying some fresh air and coffee. I have a desktop for games and heavy productivity. I have an iPad for this, and an e-reader for that, and a phone for this, and a camera for that. What’s one more, especially when it would be, I believe, quite good at what it does, even if that’s “only” working with text?

There’s also a less practical, more aesthetic reason I would enjoy a black and white device. The content we consume and the ways we navigate it have become loud and colorful, and to me it does not appear that this profusion of saturation has been accompanied by a corresponding subtlety of design. The eruption of capabilities has made many lose touch with the beauty of austerity, and what’s billed as “minimalism” rarely is. There is a set of qualities that sets that starkness apart, and while we have always enjoyed ornamentation, there has always been (and will be for the foreseeable future) a place and purpose for the essential alone.

On that note, I think it would be an interesting experiment, and highly beneficial one, to attempt to rebuild, say, Facebook or an OS, without any color at all. When you subtract color cues like green for yes and red for no, or implicit boundaries based not on contrast and flow but on different coloration, the problem of presenting and consuming the information concerned is totally changed. Perhaps one would learn better the fundamentals of layout, flow, proportion, and so on, and that would inform the color world as well.

I read a lot, and I write for a living. I want a specialized tool for doing those things, just as a logger would want an axe instead of a big knife, or a runner a good pair of shoes instead of slippers. In the end, I like the idea of a black-and-white device and interface for many of the reasons I like black-and-white photography. It’s different, and has different strengths, and both requires and provides a different perspective. For me, that’s enough to at least want it on the table.

TechCrunch » Gadgets