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Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD). It was developed by Google with the mission of producing a mass-market ubiquitous computer. Google Glass displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format. Wearers communicate with the Internet via natural language voice commands. Google Glass became officially available to the general public on May 15th, 2014, for a price of $1500. Before that users were required to receive invitations before they could try Google Glass.
Google provides four prescription frame choices for about $225.00 U.S. It is necessary to remove a small screw in order to move the Google Glass from one frame to another. Google entered in a partnership with the Italian eyewear companyLuxottica, owners of the Ray-Ban, Oakley, and other brands, to offer additional frame designs. Google sold Google Glass in the USA from 15 April 2014 for a limited period of time for $1500.
- Touchpad: A touchpad is located on the side of Google Glass, allowing users to control the device by swiping through a timeline-like interface displayed on the screen. Sliding backward shows current events, such as weather, and sliding forward shows past events, such as phone calls, photos, circle updates, etc.
- Camera: Google Glass has the ability to take photos and record 720p HD video. While video is recording, the screen stays on while it is doing so.
- Display: The Explorer version of Google Glass uses a Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS), field-sequential color, LED illuminated display. The display’s LED illumination is first P-polarized and then shines through the in-coupling polarizing beam splitter (PBS) to the LCoS panel. The panel reflects the light and alters it to S-polarization at active pixel sites. The in-coupling PBS then reflects the S-polarized areas of light at 45° through the out-coupling beam splitter to a collimating reflector at the other end. Finally, the out-coupling beam splitter (which is a partially reflecting mirror, not a polarizing beam splitter) reflects the collimated light another 45° and into the wearer’s eye.
Google offers a companion Android and iOS app called MyGlass, which allows the user to configure and manage the device.
Other than the touchpad, Google Glass can be controlled using “voice actions”. To activate Glass, wearers tilt their heads 30° upward (which can be altered for preference) or tap the touchpad, and say “O.K., Glass.” Once Glass is activated, wearers can say an action, such as “Take a picture”, “Record a video”, “Hangout with [person/Google+ circle]”, “Google ‘What year was Wikipedia founded?'”, “Give me directions to the Eiffel Tower”, and “Send a message to John” (many of these commands can be seen in a product video released in February 2013). For search results that are read back to the user, the voice response is relayed using bone conduction through a transducer that sits beside the ear, thereby rendering the sound almost inaudible to other people.