If you were wondering which one of Google’s brilliant minds is behind the Google Glass project, well you got your answer. The man in charge, or better said the woman in charge, with the development of the product is Mary Lou Jepsen, the co-founder of the project One Laptop Per Child and founder of Pixel Qi – a new type of display which performs better outdoors, is head of the display division within Google’s top secret laboratory since last year, when she was hired to work on Google’s most ambitious projects such as the autonomous car that can drive itself. She was invited on the stage of EmTech Thursday event to talk about computer wearables and their future. She also talked about technological evolution, creativity and the meaning of innovation.
Even though she wasn’t able to provide exact information regarding her work at Google, being top secret and all, she did share a few thoughts and insights about her team, the constant evolution of electronics and the future in this domain. We browsed through her speech and decided to sum up for you some of the things we should take into account in the near future.
Now, regarding the Google Glass, Mary Lou is very enthusiastic about the project. She says that since she is working in the domain for so long, she is seeing her laptop as an extension of her brain, and if you can transform it in a wearable able to grant you the same functions and features and it is also easier to carry around, light weighted and voice controllable, then it’s like a dream come true. But that’s not all. Besides from your regular laptop, the Glass is able to do more in less time. On the other hand, as Jensen states, it could make you addicted to its speed, precision and accuracy.
Another plus of the device pointed out by Jepsen is its ability to help people with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer, by recognizing faces and objects in the person’s immediate approach. However, this raises a privacy issue, which will be discussed in depth when the time comes. For now, Google is not allowing the usage of the face-recognition feature. She also says that in ten years from now, the device will be omnipresent and most of us will be using at least one device of this kind.
Of course, we don’t have to believe that everyone is going to be wearing the same type of device. If the device becomes successful, then there’s a lot of work to do on the design area as well, for both the UI and the external look. If you make an analogy between the Glass and a regular smartphone, then you can follow the smartphone evolution history to make an idea about the Glass’s trajectory on the market. We believe that at some point, you will find this type of wearable being manufactured by every technology manufacturer in different styles and with different functions, so that they could fit every costumer’s needs and style. Mary Lou Jepsen says that this is an area waiting to be further explored. And if you noticed, the Glass Explorer model comes in five colors, from black to blue and tangerine orange; Isabelle Olssen, the lead industrial designer on wearable devices said that only one color couldn’t have been enough to satisfy the customer’s design preferences.
Google suggested that they might be coming with another Glass model in 2014 and in order to make it even more wearable, they’re planning to design a modular version which could be resized or bent in case of need. Who knows, maybe it could even change colors to match the colors the user is wearing, just like a chameleon.
Jepsen also highlighted in her speech how important it is to understand the full potential a device could have after its launch and how important it is to understand the early steps made in the development process. Most of all, it is important to keep an open mind at any age so that you could fully embrace innovation.
As for the critics of the device, Google said that only those afraid of change can say no to evolution, even in this area. Bottom line, we can’t wait to see what device is the Google X team working on right now, with just 3 hours of sleep a night. Hopefully, we will see the lights of a new wearable device in 2014.