Over the past few years, we have seen digital technology soar to the summit of public interest with the likes of smartphones and tablets. This is, of course, only the beginning! With ‘the Internet of Things’ and wearable technology taking off, the use of digital devices is likely to increase.
Google Glass has created a huge amount of buzz since it’s announcement – but is it all it’s cracked up to be? Will their planned Smart contact lenses revolutionise lives? The view at Lenstore may surprise you.
What is Google Glass?
After over two years of testing, May 2014 brought the availability of the long awaited Google Glass to the American public, at a costly price of $1,500 (roughly £900). Google Glass is a wearable computer device that is built in to a pair of glasses, and allows wearers to surf the Internet with voice commands.
The information is projected through a lens and lets you enjoy augmented reality right before your eyes.
Google Glass Features
This advanced technology comes with many features. As a Google Glass user, you will be able to:
• Search Google
• Take pictures and videos
• Send and receive messages
• Make phone calls
• Access your emails
• Check your favourite social networking sites
• Get directions
Smart Contact Lenses
The technology behind Google’s high tech glasses may also be used in contact lenses; a concept that Google revealed in January 2014. Google have partnered with Novartis, a leading supplier of contact lenses, to develop a new smart lens that is designed to help people suffering from diabetes.
The lenses will monitor glucose levels in their tears by sending readings to a smart phone or computer. As the amount of people suffering from diabetes increases each year, the consumer demand for innovative ways of measuring levels of glucose will inevitably grow.
In the future, it is probable that these smart lenses will develop further, adopting the features of Google Glass and offering wearers more than just monitoring glucose levels. It seems high-tech contact lenses are already here, as Google are rumoured to have invented a pair with a built-in camera.
What's Holding Google Glass Back?
While Google has created a lot of fanfare with digital eyewear, they have also generated a lot of controversy. It is easy for a technology engrossed consumer to get carried away with the glamorous idea of Google Glass and Smart Contact Lenses.
However, Google's technological marvel might not be as enticing as it first seems. Here's a few key questions that have been raised by Google Glass and Smart Contact Lens detractors:
1. An intrusion of privacy?
One of the biggest concerns for Google Glass is the ethical issues regarding the intrusion of privacy and copyright laws; people are worried that they are being recorded without giving permission. As a result, some companies have banned people from wearing Google Glass in their establishments.
Several cinemas in the US, for example, will not allow their customers to wear the device on their premises for fears of recording and broadcasting of clips from the movies. Enforcing a ban on Google Glass is easy enough, but how can a law banning Smart contact lenses be inflicted when they can barely be seen?
2. A dangerous distraction?
Google Glass could potentially act as a dangerous distraction to people wearing them whilst driving or riding their bikes; they may begin to focus on their device rather than on the road ahead. Once again, prohibiting the use of Google Glass whilst driving is a simple practice, but forbidding people to wear Smart contact lenses could be extremely difficult to enforce.
3. Too much time on digital devices?
Aren’t we already spending too much time on digital devices? Many of us who spend an extended length of time per day using our smart phones or laptops are aware of the discomfort that often comes as a result of long-standing eye strain; for instance, headaches and dry eyes.
A recent survey by Lenstore highlighted the huge amount of time spent on devices by children. With Google Glass and smart contact lenses, we could be approaching a point where some people spend every waking minute in front of a digital screen.
4. Are contact lenses right for you?
Despite having potential health benefits, Google’s Smart Contact Lenses will require an up-to-date prescription and every wearer must be taught how to insert, remove and look after their lenses. This means that getting your hands on a pair won’t be as straight forward as you would have hoped, and not everyone’s eyes are suited to wearing contact lenses.
A few decades ago, the idea of getting your hands on a basic computer was, for most, no more than an idea. Nowadays, we live in a world where digital technology invades our every waking moment; from socialising to learning, technology is all around us. Whether Google’s inventions will succeed in fulfilling the immense hype remains to be seen.