Although you can attach provided shades for the sun or clear shields to protect your eyes for, say, a motorcycle ride, Glass is designed without lenses (and with the prism above the eye), so there's no barrier between your eyes and the real world. To use the device, you look slightly up. You control it with voice commands and by swiping or tapping the computer on the right side by the temple. You hear it through bone conduction behind the ear. It is so lightweight and out of my line of vision that the more I wore it, the less I remembered I had it on.
Glass and its new technology is definitely a conversation magnet that brought me in touch with interesting people.
At the airport, first I met Dave Head, an optical engineer from San Jose, Calif., who is now turning discarded optical lenses into art — mobiles that refract light in different colors. He had already tried them on, and they didn't work well over his prescription glasses, but he asked me about them and then told me about his interesting art.
Google has said it hopes to eventually offer a prescription option, perhaps when the device goes on sale to the general public.
Because of Glass, I also met Hitesh Patel, a nuclear medicine technologist from Springfield, Mo.; Jane Smith, a retiree from Edmond; and Brock Shetley, a University of Oklahoma sophomore majoring in air traffic control. All wanted to try it on. Shetley texted his friends to prove it. Smith told her children about it and then later had to ask what it does so she could explain it better. I only caught the first name of another woman who wanted to try it on, Carol, who works in the field of child nutrition and obesity.
And one friend who tried it, Monica Hoover, who has worked as a registered nurse, saw all kinds of potential applications for the medical world to use — because it's voice-activated, it might be able to translate a non-English-speaker's concerns to a doctor wearing Glass. Or maybe the deaf could take advantage of it, with the vibrations that users feel when the device speaks, she said. Others have suggested bloggers could use Glass for food demonstrations as they host “Google Hangouts” that project what they are doing and seeing to viewers watching on the Internet.
The privacy concerns for this device are real, and people don't always notice Glass — the flight attendants did not see it on me when they asked everyone to turn off electronic devices so they didn't ask. Also, Glass to me doesn't at first appear to be a distraction while driving because it doesn't sit in my line of sight and you use voice commands to take calls or use it.
But those are valid issues to keep discussing as more understand what the device can and cannot do. For now, Google has made an intriguing, sturdy device that works well, as promised, and that has gotten people talking about the future — and the present.