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Google Glass Hands-On: Brimming With Potential, Dangerous While Driving 67

Posted by Soulskill
from the friends-don't-let-friends-glass-and-drive dept.
Sean Hollister at The Verge was recently outfitted with Google Glass, and he provides a report on some basic usage. There's a learning curve — the device relies heavily on what information you push from your phone, so if you haven't thought through every use-case, you'll find yourself reaching for your phone fairly often. Hollister took Glass on the road for use as a kind of heads-up display while driving, and he says it felt awesome, but dangerous. "You have to look directly at what you're photographing, so you won't be getting any safe photographs unless they're photos of the road. More importantly, Glass' ability to look up important information on the go is extremely thin right now. ... While I loved having turn-by-turn directions from Google Maps navigation floating in my peripheral vision, the display wasn't bright enough for me to see those directions while looking out the windshield of my car. I had to glance up towards the car's ceiling, or place a hand behind the cube to see where I was going. ... When another person called, I was able to pick up easily enough by tapping Glass at my temple, but the bone-conducting speaker wasn't loud enough to hear over the noise of the car. I had to enunciate extremely clearly and loudly for Glass to interpret my voice searches correctly." Hollister says Glass has a lot of potential — the things that don't work well are at least close. CNET's Scott Stein also provided a detailed perspective on how Glass works for somebody who already wears glasses: "I can see the screen with some twiddling. Glass can end up tipping to the side, and I need to prop it up with my fingers, since the nose piece isn't seated on my nose any longer."
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Google Glass Hands-On: Brimming With Potential, Dangerous While Driving

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  • Nooooooooo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @05:13PM (#43658477)

    he says it felt awesome, but dangerous.

    You mean a device that distracts you from driving can be dangerous?
    Who would have imagined?

  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @05:13PM (#43658481)

    How is having something that is projected into your field of vision legal for use while driving? I realize there are cars that project your speed onto the windshield but that is the projection of a 1in high font of 1-2 digits at the bottom of the windshield, and it doesn't move when you move your head...

    I'm especially concerned when the author states he has to put his hand up to block the road to see what's on the Google glass's screen..

    • by Narcocide (102829) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @05:18PM (#43658539) Homepage

      Not yet but I'm fairly certain it will be illegal to drive with these things on in California by the time a lot of them actually get sold.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @05:22PM (#43658609)

        Driving without due care and attention would cover this.

        • Yes, but that requires proving that the driver was actually driving without due care, which inevitably leads to a long trial where the suspect argues that they were still taking due care while wearing the glasses. When you enumerate badness you get to skip proving whether something is bad, and simply have to prove the suspect was doing the action. This is the same basic rationale for why laws were passed specifically to deal with text messaging.

      • by The_K4 (627653)
        While I agree that distracted driving is dangerous and and I also expect that CA will make this illegal. I would love to have something like this to project speed and directions (think distance to next turn and direction) in my motorcycle helmet. The down side of some of these laws is that it's designed to nack people from doing stupid/dangerous things but also stop usage models for augmented reality that might actually make things easier/safer. How many drivers look at the GPS display on the center dash
    • by Pitawg (85077)

      Forget driving use. I want to see the Cop interaction with the noisy drunk driver being told to take them off by the side of the road.

      I can just imagine the Witherspoon citizen rights spiel with the Glass in place.

    • by Zerth (26112)

      How is having something that is projected into your field of vision legal for use while driving?

      Why are LED billboards legal?

    • by swillden (191260)

      How is having something that is projected into your field of vision legal for use while driving?

      It's not projected into your field of vision, not the part of it you use to look at the road, cars, pedestrians, traffic signs, etc., anyway. To look at the screen you have to shift your gaze up and to the right. It's also translucent, which is probably the biggest reason that the guy couldn't easily see it -- white translucent text (which is what was used in the demo videos I've seen) would be fairly hard to see in full daylight. I wonder if it would be easier if the top of your windshield is tinted, to pr

    • How is having something that is projected into your field of vision legal for use while driving?

      It is a whole lot better than having to look away from the road. Sure it is possible to have the display be too busy with twitter feeds, facebook walls and youtube all going at once, but extreme cases shouldn't be an excuse to exclude the normal case.

      I'm especially concerned when the author states he has to put his hand up to block the road to see what's on the Google glass's screen..

      That's an implementation failure. Either the projection is not bright enough or it needs to have a tinted background - like the inside of a pair of sunglasses.

      • I'm especially concerned when the author states he has to put his hand up to block the road to see what's on the Google glass's screen..

        That's an implementation failure. Either the projection is not bright enough or it needs to have a tinted background - like the inside of a pair of sunglasses.

        Likely no one in the development team took them outside before they released the dev-kit. "Oh right, sunlight." Photochromatic ("Transition") tint on the back of the display lens might work as a quick'n'dirty solution.

        The biggest failure, IMO, is their incompatibility with regular glasses. The only option (other then clumsily holding them up with your hand) is to have prescription lenses custom fitted to the GooGlass. In other words, the devs really did assume people will never want to take the headset off.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @05:25PM (#43658651)

    Distracted driving is stupid and against the law even if there is no law against the specific means of distraction.

  • by ganjadude (952775) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @05:25PM (#43658653) Homepage
    This is brand new tech, everyone who has it still has a beta version of the end product if my memory serves me right. of course its not perfect yet. but the concept is amazing (negating the creepy factor) and im sure after a generation or 2 all the kinks i keep reading about will be ironed out. Most of the kinks seem to me people simply using the devices in ways that google may not have anticipated, or people want them to do more then they can.

    its still too early to tell, but it does look promising
    • This is brand new tech, everyone who has it still has a beta version of the end product if my memory serves me right. of course its not perfect yet. but the concept is amazing (negating the creepy factor) and im sure after a generation or 2 all the kinks i keep reading about will be ironed out.

      This is Google. After 2 generations and it's in common use, it will still be beta.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @05:42PM (#43658827)

    If you lean over and shout into the google glass "GOOGLE, IMAGE SEARCH DIARRHEA, I'M FEELING LUCKY" while he's driving.

  • "I can see the screen with some twiddling. Glass can end up tipping to the side, and I need to prop it up with my fingers, since the nose piece isn't seated on my nose any longer."

    So google has created an incredibly geeky device that only nerds are likely to feel comfortable with at first... and it doesn't work well for people who wear glasses. I'm sure this will turn out great.
  • I wonder why instead of making the "screen" only that small area at the top right of your vision, they don't make traditional-looking glasses with an entire field-of-view screen in 3D.

  • > so you wonâ(TM)t be getting any safe photographs unless theyâ(TM)re photos of the road

    Why do I fear that this will, in fact, be the main thing that comes out of people buying google glass. Suddenly, youtube is awash in commentators about the morning commute. "As you probably remember from last weeks
    videos, this intersection is one of the worst in the area. I would avoid it if there was any reasonable way around, but that really is why traffic is so bad here isn't it"

    "Here we go again, same gu

    • Sounds pretty awesome, actually!
      Screw the Russians with their dashcams. Now we get the view from onlookers AND First Person Road Rage shots!

      BTW, what kind of stupid asshole would expect "making pretty photo's from your car whilst driving" to be a reasonable use case for Google Glass?
      I bet it would work great for traffic jam flirting, though. Keep your window-sized QR codes of your facebook url handy!

    • little late for work and really got caught in it....

      ...BANG! Crash... tinkle... wimper... silence

  • How about with bicycles, and with tablesaws? Report back to us on how that goes.

    • Paramedics are going to have to get used to saying "Ok Glass, share video" or we are gonna miss out on some epic footage.

  • Eye dominance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Varmint01 (415694) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @08:57PM (#43660583)

    I had a go at Google Glass a few days ago (courtesy of a friend with connections), and I had a rather unexpected problem with them. The display is set on the right side of the frame and can't be moved. I'm extremely left-eye dominant, to the the point where reading with my right eye alone is next to impossible. I can make out the scenery, but the center of my vision in that eye has the acuity of peripheral vision, and I can't parse complex shapes (ie text) with that eye alone. I hate to claim "I have a medical condition", but I do, and it's called amblyopia. Until Google makes the display switchable to the left side, this is a show-stopper for me.

    I can certainly see that as the kind of thing that will show up in version 2 or 3, but they would be a waste of money for me at this point.

    • Wear them upside down.
    • I'm extremely left-eye dominant, to the the point where reading with my right eye alone is next to impossible. I can make out the scenery, but the center of my vision in that eye has the acuity of peripheral vision, and I can't parse complex shapes (ie text) with that eye alone. I hate to claim "I have a medical condition", but I do, and it's called amblyopia.

      It must suck for you that the DMV tests the eyesight of each eye individually.

      I can certainly see that as the kind of thing that will show up in version 2 or 3, but they would be a waste of money for me at this point.

      Don't despair.

      Google Glass would be a waste of money for almost anyone at this point (unless you're a developer wishing to develop on that emerging platform, or unless you're a billionaire looking for a fashion accessory and money is nothing to you right now).

  • by imsabbel (611519) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @06:58AM (#43663517)

    Brightness.

    I found it very interesting that he found the display to dim to see anything when looking out of the windshield.

    No preview has mentioned this up to now, and I think thats an interesting issue. If you cannot even see the turn by turn display of google maps in daylight, how will the other usability be?

  • 'nuff said?

Reference the NULL within NULL, it is the gateway to all wizardry.

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