OK Glass, shoot a laser beam!

Google GlassHave you tried it on?

Glass is Google’s wearable computer that sits on your right ear and displays its contents through a tiny prism projector screen over your right eye. (duh)

During this summer break, CIS had a test-out event of a Google Glass loaned from the Claremont Library for two weeks. Soon after the announcement for the event, several people (six faculty, seven staff, and six students) with exceptional curiosity jumped right in. At Harvey Mudd, we like scientific experiments. So in this case, the hypothesis to accept (or otherwise sadly reject) was “Google Glass helps teaching and learning (in a way).” (Hey Google, isn’t Harvey Mudd a perfect place for testing such an emerging technology in higher ed? Contact us if you want to donate a Google Glass or two. ;))

Anyway, those 18 enthusiastic experimentalists came back with their personal opinions after trying Glass out for two to three hours. Two common responses were “It’s cool!” and, interestingly, “It made my head and eyes hurt.” A group of MyCS students tried it for a scavenger hunt using Glass apps like Word Lens for a group of teachers and reported that it went really well–this was actually a great use case for Glass in an educational setting. In addition, a couple of faculty members noted that the usefulness in teaching and learning would be dependent on the Glassware you use.

In fact, the default functions of Glass are pretty basic: google something, take a photo, record a video, get directions to, and send a message to, etc. But my 13-year-old son’s first command for Glass was “OK Glass, shoot a laser beam!” Unfortunately (and fortunately to me) it didn’t shoot a laser beam on me. It, however, could’ve done that if he had installed a Glass app doing it (at least on its screen). And it could’ve been educational (in a way) like showing how to calculate the power density of different laser beams depending on parameters like the beam diameter and the distance from the object. So as our faculty members noted in their feedback, with the right Glassware, it may be useful for education in near future.

P.S. We couldn’t accept or reject the hypothesis due to the small sample size. Google, we are eager to do more experiments and you know what to do. ;)

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