I'm active in several discussions about Glass online and recently a couple questions came up where I shared fairly long comments. To try and keep together some of what I'm writing about Glass in one place, I'm adding them here.
The first question was from a UK firm that asked where people saw Glass going in healthcare.
I work for a Community Health Center in the United States and have recently gotten Google Glass. We've been having lots of discussions about how we hope to use Google Glass.
Enhancing our Telemedicine program
(See http://quality.chc1.com/echo/ for more information about our Telemedicine program)
Making our EHRs available to our medical providers via Glass, including improved ways to do screenings and enter information into our EHR system.
Using Glass as an advocacy tool to help people recognize the social determinants of health around them.
The second question asked what markets were likely to be largest for Glass, did people think it would be law enforcement? I replied:
My father-in-law is a retired Federal agent. He is very excited about Glass from a law enforcement perspective. I work in health care, and I'm very excited about it from that perspective. Friends work in marketing and creative services and are very excited about it from that angle.
I think it is way to early to try and guess which market will be biggest. If I were guessing, I might go with health care, because it is such a large market. As a nation we spend a lot more on health care than we do on law enforcement, unless you include the full defense budget.
I also think it is useful to look beyond the current Glass prototype. Where do you see this going? I tend to think of Glass in terms of wearable computing. If we add devices like Fitbit and Pebbles into the same class and ask where this class of devices is going, the question gets even more interesting.
To sum it up, I'd take an old saying and twist it around for Glass, Follow your interests and the market will follow.
What are your thoughts?
Yesterday, I blogged about my plans to get together with a friend to talk about Glass development. I went on to share some initial thoughts, which mostly revolved around Glass as a device used to retrieve information. Yet much of today's discussion focused on a different aspect of Glass, Glass as a sensor, used to transmit information.
I touch on the Glass as sensor a little bit, at the end of yesterday's blog post, when I talked about using it in fitness, along the lines of Fitbit. Yet my friend, an MIT engineering graduate, and son of a retired MIT professor, with strong ties back to his alma mater encouraged me to think more about Glass as sensor.
In the past, we had worked together on complex event processing projects and developed code for analyzing complex data using Matlab. We talked a lot about various sensor related projects at MIT, so this shift of discussion wasn't a surprise.
What information is Glass capable of gathering right now? Images. Sounds. Location. Can it gather fine motions? Temperature? Other data? What might one be able to do if one could take this information and use it to trigger events?
How can this information be accessed? It looks like location information can be subscribed to with the Mirror API, but other information may need some sort of special Android App for Glass to be developed.
So, I'm starting to explore a little bit more working with the Mirror Api. I've sent messages to my Google Glass from the sample apps as well as from the playground. Next step will be to create something on my server.
Now, I've spoken with a few different people about developing for Glass. It will be interesting to see who comes up with what.
This weekend, I'm getting together with a long time friend and software developer with whom I've worked on many interesting projects. We'll spend some time thinking and talking about what could be done using Google Glass.
I've commented to people that Glass is still a prototype and there isn't a lot out there for it yet. You can send pictures and videos to Google+ Twitter, Facebook, Evernote and probably a few other locations. You can get limited notifications from Twitter, Gmail, CNN and the New York Times. You can search information and get directions. I did find a fitness app being developed which I tested once and should test more when I get a chance.
Currently, I've been using an app called FieldTrip on my Android phone. When I am near a location of interest, a message pops up on the phone about the location. This would be a nice app on Glass, especially if you could select different topics your interested in having pop up. My understanding is that Ingress uses the FieldTrip framework, so getting Glass to send me a pop up message when I'm near an Ingress Portal would be very nice. Adding filters, so it would only pop up if the portal was a certain level or controlled by a certain faction would also be nice. Advanced features might be to look for specific portal owners, mods, etc., sort of like some of the stuff in Ingress Intel Total Conversion.
There is a development platform, which on first glance appears somewhat limited, but has potential. One of the things I'm particularly interested in building frameworks. I've worked a lot in Drupal over the years, so I'm interested in a Drupal module that would allow for the easy access of nodes via Glass. I'm also interested in some sort of Wiki for Glass. At work, we use Microsoft's Sharepoint as well as Microsoft's Analysis Services, Cubes. A framework for accessing Sharepoint or Cubes would also be very nice.
Making it so the Drupal nodes, the Wiki entries or Sharepoint pages could be geotagged and pop up in a FieldTrip like App would be really nice. Ideally, a FieldTrip app, or something related, which could pop up messages from any selected set of sources would be particularly cool. For work, my interest in data in the cube is not particularly geocoded. However, I did some experimenting with PostGIS a while ago and having a Postgres, or other database that could have geocoded data and pop up messages from that data could be very interesting. For example, MySQL with OpenGIS extensions support a distance calculations. For a starting point on this, I looked at New UDF for MySQL 5.1 provides GIS functions distance_sphere() and distance_spheroid()
Imagine census data, population health data, or health disparity data in a geocoded database. When you enter an area where some data point meets a certain criteria, a popup shows up on Glass.
"Woodbridge, CT: Zip 06525, 2010 Population 8,990 41.9% Graduate or Professional Degree, 22.4% Italien"
For that matter, a Fact Finder Google Glass App would be very interesting.
I suspect a lot of this stuff would be fairly easy to develop using the existing Mirror API. As an aside, I should really spend a little time getting up to speed in Go and Google's App Engine.
However, there are lots of other aspects of Glass that I'd love to see developed, which probably go beyond what you can do with the Mirror API. I don't know how much computing power is available on Glass, but I'd be very interested in seeing if Glass could do Eulerian Video Magnification. The health care applications would be fascinating.
I also like to think of Glass in terms of the larger set of technologies I'll refer to as wearable computing. I include things like the Pebble Watch and Fitbit. Imagine the capabilities of Glass, Pebble, and Fitbit combined into one device. You could go for a run, see your course, distance, speed and splits. You could add in information, like for a race course, how far you are to the next water stop, or how your doing against other people using the same device. It could monitor your heartbeat, perhaps even your blood oxygen levels, and give you warnings if you are over exerting yourself, or perhaps encouragement to push harder if you aren't exerting yourself as much as you should.
There's plenty more to think about for Glass Development, but these are a few of my starting interests. What do you think?
In 1996, Richard Bartle wrote and article, Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit MUDs in which he explored four basic player types in text based virtual reality games called MUDs or Multi-User Dungeons. He summarizes these types as follows:
So, labelling the four player types abstracted, we get: achievers, explorers, socialisers and killers. An easy way to remember these is to consider suits in a conventional pack of cards: achievers are Diamonds (they're always seeking treasure); explorers are Spades (they dig around for information); socialisers are Hearts (they empathise with other players); killers are Clubs (they hit people with them).
He uses this to explore ideas like game stability and player interactions and recently, I've been wondering how this relates to the Augmented Reality game, Ingress.
In Ingress, players interact with one another, destroying opponents portals, fortifying portals that other faction members have captured, recharging portals, exchanging gear, etc. There is an achievement aspect in terms of what level one is and how much gear one as accumulated.
I suspect that the player styles may change as people level up as well as when an area gets more players of one faction or another, and that each player has a little bit of each style.
For example, I probably started off primarily as an achiever, seeking treasure and trying to level up. Once I reached Level 8 in Ingress, which is currently the highest level possible, my focus on seeking treasure has diminished, but I still seek a basic amount of treasure. Now that I'm Level 8, I tend to move more towards being an explorer or a socializer. I like exploring new areas and I like interacting with players.
I've met some players who fit very nicely in the into the socializer category, always dropping inventory for new players and helping them get started. I've ran into players who remain very focusing on achievement, trying to build up Level 8 farms, and gather as much gear as they can from them. I've run into others that focus mostly on tearing down other people's farms.
Another component of Ingress is establishing links and fields. With this there are several different styles, that I haven't really figured out how they best fit to Bartle's model. Some people rarely link, or create links to support a farm. Others create long wild links, which make it difficult for others to link but don't serve any other apparent purposes. These links are used to establish fields. Some people establish large fields, mostly as an achievement, which the killers take down as soon as possible. Others create lots of small fields, overlapping as much as possible.
Bartle spends a bit of time talking about interactions between different styles of players and it is useful to read through the section, think about what sort of player you are, what sort of players are around you in your faction, and what sort of players are in the opposing faction. It may provide insights that can make the game more fun for players, no matter what style they adopt.
So, do you play Ingress? What style of player are you? What style of players are around you in your faction? What style of players dominate the opposing faction? How do these insights change the way you approach the game? Or, do you think Bartle's ideas don't translate to Ingress? Is there something that better explains player interactions? Let me know your thoughts.
On Friday, June 14th, I went into New York City and to pick up Google Glass. It was a quick, uneventful trip. The Glass office on the eighth floor of Chelsea Markets had all the feel of a trendy New York City creative space sparsely decorated with tall ceilings a large windows looking out over the meat packing district.
After picking up Google Glass, I stopped by at the Apple Store next door. One of the sales people asked a bit about glass and we talked about the prospects for it. I then head dinner with two of my co-workers as we discussed how we hope to use Glass at work.
My initial reactions is that it reminded me of when I picked up an Apple Newton twenty years ago. For those who don't remember the Apple Newton, it was a handheld device, the precursor to the personal digital assistant and ultimately the smartphone. It is probably only a small number of older early adopting geeks that remember the Apple Newton, and I wouldn't be surprised that Glass will be remembered in the same way two decades hence.
Most people I've met have been fascinated by Glass, though some express concern about privacy. One person tweeted, "If you're wearing Glass, you've turned yourself into a sense organ for a corporate being. Not even a metaphor, that's the real situation."
I responded, "I, for one, welcome our new #glass providing overlords." I'll the discussions of the new form of the social contract in the digital world for a later time. I believe there is value to Glass if you use it with your eyes wide open.
Over on Facebook and Google+ there has been more of the discussion about facial recognition. Personally, I would be a big fan of facial recognition on Glass, even if it were only opt-in. If I see one of my thousands of friends, followers, or connections from Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Twitter, I'd love to be reminded of who they are and how I know them.
The facial recognition would also be great for a politicians. Imagine working a crowd and being able to tell if the person you are speaking with has written to your office about an issue, has donated or volunteered for your campaign, or other information like that.
By the time I got on the train home, that first day, the battery had died. After trying to recharge it, I found Glass would not start back up. I spent much of Saturday talking on the phone with folks at Google, trying to find ways to restart Glass. By Monday, the decision was to RMA it. Now came the issue of how to do this. Normally, they ask people to return to where they got Google Glass and swap it. It is about a two and a half hour trip if I drive into the city, longer, but more comfortable, if I take the train. So, we explored other ways to do the exchange.
For people that live a long distance from a Google Glass store, they can get a new pair shipped, and then return their broken pair. All they need to do is allow Google to put a hold for $1,500 on their personal credit card. I don't have that sort of money to spare, and they wouldn't take a hold on a corporate card, so on Tuesday, I headed back into New York to get a new pair.
This pair has worked much better. I've taken pictures and videos, I've gotten information via Google Now, the New York Times, CNN, Twitter, and email. I've started to explore the development environment.
I recently received a survey from Google about how I use and like glass. As a wearable communications device, I really like it. The sound quality is not all that good for doing phone calls, or listening to information, but it is good enough to get alerts. The screen is okay, but I worry that if I used it a lot, I might get eye strain.
That said, when someone else isn't borrowing Google Glass, which happens a lot, I wear it almost all the time.
What will the replacement for Google Glass look like? Will it include other health monitoring tools like pulse, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, etc, combining the best aspects of other wearable input devices, like Fitbit? Will it become smaller and even less noticeable?
I'll keep experimenting with Google Glass and talking with others doing the same. What do you think?