If all goes to plan, this could be the year when Google Glass finally gets a commercial release. With the Mountain View company for the last year or so rolling out monthly software updates for its face-based computer, backed up by a slew of Explorers testing out the device and developing apps for it, Glass already appears to be pretty much good to go.
As we wait for official word from Google on a release date, developers are continuing to work on a range of apps so the device can launch with a decent library of offerings for early adopters.
One such app in the early stages of development may end up saving lives if it eventually finds its way into Google’s Glass-dedicated MyGlass store. Called DriveSafe, the software is designed to issue a visual and audible alert if it senses you’re nodding off at the wheel. It’ll even direct you to the nearest rest area so you can grab some much-needed shut-eye before continuing your journey.
It’s activated with a command that may or may not instill confidence in a driver’s fellow passengers – “OK Glass, keep me awake” – and works via an infrared sensor and tilt sensor. While the infrared sensor detects eyelid movement, the tilt sensor picks up on if your head starts lolling about as you begin to doze off.
The as-yet unfinished version, which, it should be noted, “is not yet guaranteed to stop you from falling asleep while driving”, can currently be sideloaded onto Glass, with the team planning to submit a presumably fully reliable version to the MyGlass store once development is complete.
However, with Google, as well as various state authorities, currently going through a process of evaluation with regards to drivers’ use of Glass, it’s not sure if such an app will make it through to the store.
Google’s current terms of service stipulate that its products and services should not be used “in a way that distracts you and prevents you from obeying traffic or safety laws,” though no direct reference is made to Glass.
Meanwhile, on its Glass FAQ page, Google has this to say about using the device while driving: “As you probably know, most states have passed laws limiting the use of mobile devices while driving any motor vehicle, and most states post those rules on their department of motor vehicles websites. Read up and follow the law.”
Last month it was reported that Illinois state Senator Ira Silverstein had filed legislation to ban vehicle owners from driving while wearing Glass, while all eyes are on a court case this month in which California woman Cecilia Abadie is set to defend herself against a charge of distracted driving while wearing Glass – the Explorer hit the headlines in October for becoming the first person ever to get a ticket for driving while wearing Google’s high-tech specs.