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Taking Google Glass For A Test Drive

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – They’re a little strange looking, controversial and aren’t even available to the public yet.

But Google Glass may soon become the next hottest thing in mobile communication.

So why everyone is Googling ‘Google glasses?’

Thanks to Google Glass specs, the experimental head-mounted computer, turns ‘four eyes’ into five.

“Yes! I get quite a bit of attention,” said Google Glass explorer Alex Dennis.

Dennis, of Boca Raton, is special. He is one of only a few thousand people chosen to explore, use and test the Google Glass. Until recently, Dennis had to wear the new device with contact lens.

“I’m getting a very clear image,” said Dennis.

Dennis went to Hollywood Eyes where Dr. Barry Kay fit the Google Glass onto a pair of prescription-lens frames.

“The Google Glass is set up as if someone was looking at approximately 9-feet away. So to see the image being projected by Google Glass you need to have clear distance vision,” said Kay.

Google Glass comes in five colors. It’s advertised as strong, but light, and can send messages, take pictures and videos hands-free using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology.

“My favorite way of using it is really taking pictures of my son, catching all the different milestones as he grows older. His first time crawling, his first time standing up on his own, I caught all those things on glass. I didn’t have to try and go ‘Where’s my camera? Where’s my camera?’ because I had glass on my head,” said Dennis. “I could just say ‘OK, take a picture’.”

Kay said there are some misconceptions about the Google Glass image being in a person’s way.

“And you know they’re going to be walking into windows, buildings and all kind of things. But you really realize how unobtrusive it is,” said Kay.”Again, it’s out in front of you. It’s slightly elevated.”

Kay said Google Glass is versatile.  It can do everything from showing the time to giving its user flight information, displaying a text or email, translating a phrase and even searching Google. However, this technical revolution remains heavily reliant on a cellphone to perform its “glass” magic act, either through audio commands or touch.

“Also this technology is really meant to be glance-able. It’s not the kind of technology you use to watch a YouTube video per se,” said Dennis. “If I get a text message, I’ll get a ding. I might see the text and if it’s too long, I’ll say ‘OK glass, read aloud’.”

Using bone conduction technology, only Dennis can hear what his Google Glass reads to him. The audio vibrates against his skull bone and goes into the eardrum.

But don’t get confused, Google Glass is not a spy camera.

“The thing about ‘glass’ is that actually you can tell when it’s on. So there’s a light that comes on when it’s recording,” said Dennis.

To activate the Glass, Dennis merely taps on the side or looks up. He said he starts his day with a workout app that tracks his squats.

“And the cool thing about technology, because it’s on my head, it can tell if I’m doing it right,” said Dennis. “And then when it’s done, it says ‘Good job, take a break. Drink some water.'”

If all of this sounds a bit too “Big Brother-ish,” Dennis begs to differ.   He said the Glass is more like a phantom friend.

“And so it really has become like that extra limb or extra capability, some super powers that you miss when you don’t have it on,” said Dennis.

Companies are also experimenting with Google Glass. British Virgin Airways and the New York Police Department are testing it out.

As for privacy concerns, Google has said it will ban facial recognition apps.

Currently, Google Glass is not available to the public. But it could be by the end of the year for a cost of around $1,500.

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