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Dave Lorenzini of the Glassware Foundary.
second look

Will this year be the turning point for Google Glass and co?

After being closely followed for the past year, Google Glass has seen criticism and negative views, but a turning point could soon be on the cards.

IT’S QUITE DIFFICULT to avoid news of Google Glass. Although it recently sold out of devices when it had a one day sale in the US, public perception towards the device has been mostly negative, ranging from skeptical to complete distrust.

Yet outside of Google’s project, the number of companies that are putting together their own smart eyewear technology alone is growing quickly. It, wearable technology and augmented and virtual reality will see more attention placed upon them as the year progresses as developers and industries experiment with their capabilities.

One person heavily involved in this industry is Dave Lorenzini of The Glassware Foundary, a service dedicated towards helping developers create apps for Google Glass.

Before then, Lorenzini was the director of a mapping technology company called Keyhole, which was acquired by Google in 2004 and became Google Earth. His background involves visualisation, mapping virtual worlds and , which lends itself well to developing Google Glass and other similar technologies.

In his keynote at the AR marketing conference in Dublin earlier this week, Lorenzini predicted that by 2020, it will be impossible for those people using smart devices not to be looking at augmented version of the world through them. While that may be seen as a bold claim, it’s not entirely unrealistic once the technology overcomes a number of obstacles, mainly public opinion.

Although it’s received a lot of attention in the past year, Google Glass is still very much a work in progress, and while promo videos show the many possible uses for it, there’s still a long way to go.

Google / YouTube

For one, the battery life is quite poor. If you have the camera on constantly, it will only last an hour, maybe two, at best, the hardware used is two years old, with relatively similar specs to the Nexus 4 when it was first released, and the lack of apps and services means its use is very limited.

Also, unless you have the prescription lenses range, you’re going to look silly wearing them in public so why has it been receiving so much attention? Outside of it being a Google product, Lorenzini says it’s because it has the potential to give you see the world in a different light.

It looks stupid, it dies quick, it doesn’t do a lot so why is it important? Well, cause when you can change vision and physiology to see something, and to imagine something, your brain is doing the same amount of work [it was before wearing them] and so you’re getting a pipeline to how people think and feel and act.

But with all new technologies, there will always be those who will denounce it or say it will never catch on, either for technological, social or cultural reasons. With any new technology or idea, those who share a pessimistic view of it will voice their opinions first, but the uses and practicalities will overcome this viewpoint.

The short answer is the world loves the lunatic fringe,” jokes Lorenzini, “They pay attention to it first, but the core utility of where this takes us will win the day. What’s interesting is we’re in this period of fear, uncertainty and doubt over utility, but that’s going to shift at some point.”

One of the advantages behind the platform is that it runs on Android, so theoretically, those who already develop for Android smartphones will be able to work on Glass when it’s rolled out to everyone.

Anything literally on Android works on Glass as long as you remap the user interface and screen sizes so it’s going to jump start the whole industry of application development.Once they open up those floodgates, you’ll get a lot of amazing results but the major challenges is accommodating screen size, the limited interface… it really forces you to boil down your applications to the essence you’re trying to deliver.

As for how the industry is going to develop, it’s going to be a case of following where the money is, as Lorenzini puts it. Once it gains momentum and the first practical uses of it emerge, that’s when things are going to get really interesting.

“It’s going to be unstoppable, giving that the kids are going to adapt it and when you can make people laugh and connect with each other in intimate ways…it’s going to make us better people by connecting us together.”

Read: Want to start learning something new? Here’s where you should start >

Read: Smartphone industry commit to new anti-theft measures for new devices >

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