Google Glass have hit the UK market this week and we’re taking a look at what the new technology is all about and how it might impact driving.

Google Glass was first launched in the US two years ago and the UK is only the second country to get access to it. You have to be 18, with a credit card registered in the UK and have £1,000 to buy it.

Here’s the amazing launch video from Google two years ago.

What is Google Glass?

Google Glass is the latest wearable technology. It is a pair of glasses with a small prism-based translucent screen-mounted above the right eye. It can take pictures or video from a front facing camera, controlled by a voice command or a swipe on the right hand armature and is designed to display at a glance information which is visible only to the user.

It creates the illusion of a 25in screen floating about 8ft in front of the user’s right eye. It runs a variant of Google’s Android mobile software and relies on a smartphone for its data connectivity.

Google Glass can replay audio back either through head phones or through vibrations through the user’s skull using a bone conduction transducer. Plus it has one day life battery or 45 minutes continuous video recording.

Here’s one of Google’s promo videos showing a family using Glass for directions.

Definition of Google Glass

A wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display that provides information in a smartphone-like hands-free format.

Definition of wearable technology

Accessories or fashion that incorporates computer and advanced electronic technologies.

Although Google Glass is for sale it is still a beta prototype and the company want people to buy, use it and provide feedback so they can refine the product.

Glass is available with prescription lenses and there will soon be 5 changeable frames and 8 sunglasses.

Banning Google Glass

Some companies have already raised concerns about the new technology with cinemas banning the use of them in the theatres.

But Google aren’t too worried about it because they see that the unknown can be scary at first. Ivy Ross, head of Google Glass, said: “In 1890 they banned Kodak cameras from parks when they first came out.”

 

Behind the wheel

The Department for Transport said it is in discussions with Google to explore how Glass could be used legally: “There are no plans to change the existing laws and we have met with Google to discuss the implications of the current law for Google glass.

“Google is anxious its products do not pose a road safety risk and are currently considering options to allow the technology to be used in accordance with the law.”

In car cameras

The use of in car cameras on driving lessons is quite popular and I wonder if there’s a place for Google Glass for this purpose.

I spoke to a couple of industry experts to see what their thoughts were on in car cameras and Google Glass.

Susan McCormick, managing director of Tri-Coaching Partnership, said: “In car cameras have huge potential for training drivers and perfect for self-development for the instructors who can assess their own communication skills and rapport with the pupils.

“I don’t like the idea of cameras being used for law suits. They should focus on what’s happening inside the car and only use outside cameras to capture examples of poor driving to discuss and develop the pupils understanding.”

Ged Wilmot, ADI coaching consultant, said: “I love the idea of new technology like Google Glasses but not behind the wheel. We’re trying to cut down on the number of distractions while driving and this will be massively distracting and I think it should be banned.”

Ged uses in car cameras for training PDI’s who use them to watch back and learn.

What do you think?

Tweet us @Instructorcars and let us know if you think Google Glass is a good idea or if you are worried about road safety.