Students Debate ‘Leap Into the Future’ with Google Glass

Once it reaches the masses, Google Glass may quickly become the most popular technological development since the iPad.

The Mace & Crown at Old Dominion University describes the augmented reality spectacles as nothing less than “a leap into the future.”  The glasses are capable of “taking pictures, recording videos, looking up map directions and sharing content– all done hands-free.”

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As The Tartan at Carnegie Mellon University explains in “How Things Work,” “The glasses will be able to connect to the Internet to find information about whatever the user is looking at and can be controlled by the user through head tilts and other programmed gestures. There will also be headphones embedded into its frame that can give information to the user. Advertisers can even transmit information to the device based on the user’s proximity to their stores. Google’s new invention will allow people to be connected to their environment at all times.”

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After a device demonstration last year by Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin, college students nationwide are curious about– and mostly keen on– the device.

“Although there are things to be skeptical about, it is always amazing to see the advances in technology that we have access to,” Acadia University student Stephanie Brown writes in The Athenaeum. “There are many positive things that can come from Google Glass, and it will certainly be used in creative ways. . . . One commenter mentioned that these glasses could help his visually impaired wife who uses closed captioning when watching TV. . . . The ideas for apps would be endless, and while some would be trivial, there is no doubt that some would enhance people’s lives.”

Life enhancements aside, University of Colorado Boulder sophomore James Bradbury does envision some early problems from a fashion and cost perspective.

As he puts it in the CU Independent, “One drawback is the glasses are a little ungainly, making the wearer look kind of like a cyborg assassin from ‘The Terminator,’ but that will change if fashion eyeglass-makers like Ray-Ban start to design for the technology. The digital divide between the haves and have-nots will only widen as early adopters reap the benefits simply because they can afford the barrier to entry.”

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Bradbury’s bigger concern is the gadget’s obvious potential for invasion of privacy. In his words, “Something about people wearing videos cameras ready to record at a moment’s notice makes me very uncomfortable. As much as someone has the right to record me eating a sandwich on the bus, I don’t think that right should be exercised. It’s against social norms to whip out a smartphone and start recording people, but with Glass there’s nothing to give people the hint that they’re being recorded. Think of that embarrassing picture of you on Facebook, the one where you didn’t know anyone was taking a picture– now consider that happening all the time.”

University of Houston junior Lucas Sepulveda also predicts some far-reaching problems with Project Glass and others like it.

As he writes in The Daily Cougar, “Because of technology, people are already extremely out-of-touch with the real world, and the only thing keeping many from being completely sucked in is the 12 inches of reality that separates their eyes from the phone or the computer. But now, thanks to Google and their space glasses, even that will prove to be powerless against the grasps of electronics. . . . And what’s the next technological step? Contacts? Imagine the fun that hackers could have with those.”

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