In the realm of wearable technology, Google Glass is king.

It was almost a year ago that the single lens visor, which functions as a computer became selectively available for purchase at the mere price of $1500. Although it has yet to gain mass popularity, it has certainly drawn great amounts of both controversy and praise.

The Google Glass, like a smartphone is a mobile internet device and phone, however it is controlled solely by voice commands and a mini touchpad located on the side band. Instead of speakers, there is a bone conduction transducer inside the earpiece that sends correlating vibrations of the audio playing. Currently, it’s only distributed through a test group called the Glass Explorer Program, which requires either an invitation or completing an application. If selected, Explorers still have to shell out the $1500 but they get the privilege of considering themselves vital participants in the beta product’s test phase.

In the Bay Area, Google Glass’s birthplace, the schmancy eyewear has received mixed responses. Several Oakland and San Francisco food establishments have already protested the presence of the Glass. There have been a few police-involved disputes where bar staff has explicitly and vehemently demanded Glass wearers to leave. One Glass Explorer/journalist, Sarah Slocum, says she was verbally assaulted at a Molotov, a dive bar in the heart of city, when she donned her Glass. Another Explorer was physically ejected from Telegraph, a bar in Oakland, after refusing to remove his Glass. Since then, other proprietors have declared preemptive bands on the Glass.

To many non-glass wearers, the contraption is perceived as threatening, aggressive and a little creepy. It’s suspicious that Glass wearer just needs to wink to take a photograph then open the contraption’s facial recognition app to procure a stranger’s essential details. The Glass’s awkward tiny lens, its quiet ability to record, its price tag, and it resemblance to Star Trek’s Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge’s VISOR are all viable reasons to why people are judging this slow yet discernibly powerful movement of Google Glass-ers.

Much of the controversy is very reminiscent of when smartphones first became a commodity. The fear that anyone could whip out their phone, snap a photo, and post it to social media is now archaic notion. Today, we’re all constantly pointing and shooting, posting and sharing that rarely do we worry about our personal lives being exposed to a crevasse of internet danger. Will our qualms about Google Glass have a similar demise? Is the Glass really that much more of an invasion of privacy than a smartphone? Or is it just perturbing to see an authoritative piece of technology protrude so unabashedly from another human’s face?

In New York City, reactions to the Google Glass have been much tamer. Some people are taking advantage of its versatility and using it to facilitate artistic endeavors. A group of young filmmakers used the Glass to film a documentary that examines the distinct Caribbean and Hasidic cultures of Crown Heights. Different members of both communities spent time recording their lives with the Glass; each delivering a unique and intimate perspective on these typically unsung cultures.

Organizer of Bushwick Open Studios, Samantha Katz started a video series called Gallery Glass, which showcases various artists working
while wearing the Glass. The experience gives artists and the audience a real-time fish-eye lens-like perspective of the creative artistic process.

However, not all of New York is on board with the face gadget. Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz, of Brooklyn, is spearheading legislation to outlaw the use of the Google Glass while driving. Even though the Glass can act as a GPS and can take messages and make calls without diverting the wearer’s vision, it’s still a monitor that bares the potential to distract its user behind the wheel. Yet, as distracted driving accidents are on the incline, wouldn’t it be wise to investigate the Glass’s safety factors more? After all, the screen is clear and provides legible and oral directions that would probably be less distracting than always glancing at a piece of paper or your phone for directions. There has even been an app invented to prevent sleepy Explorers from falling asleep at the wheel. It’s called DriveSafe, and sets off an alarm whenever it senses that its driver might be starting to doze.

For workplaces, the Google Glass could forever transform the rate, speed, and quality of productivity. Questions at meetings could be answered the moment they’re asked. The role of the scribe will be replaced by the Glass’s note taking app. The device will expedite research, conduct rapid image searches, and be able to intercommunicate information faster than email. It’s only a matter of time until the Glass takes a prominent place in business life, and when it does, the system of work as we know it will be completely revolutionized.

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