Google Glass XE9 no longer needs Bluetooth tethering

Thanks to the latest XE9 over-the-air update, Glass Explorers will no longer need to enable tethering on their smartphones while away from WiFi. As soon as the the XE9 OTA update rolled out, we immediately noticed that the icon for the MyGlass app in the system tray had changed. The icon now sported two small arrows indicating data was being transferred. Little did we know that this meant that the MyGlass app was the one transferring data over Bluetooth and that Glass was no longer using Bluetooth tethering for an Internet connection.

MyGlass arrows icon

You can easily test this yourself by going into your phones tethering settings. You should see something similar as to the screenshot below. Just uncheck Bluetooth tethering and you’re set. Then, while away from WiFi you’ll notice that Glass is functioning just fine and the MyGlass app notification icon will have the two little arrows beside it indicating that data is being transferred to Glass without WiFi and without Bluetooth tethering.

Bluetooth tethering

This is great news for the upcoming release of the consumer edition of Glass. Not everyone’s mobile data plans includes tethering. Some carriers charge $10 a month or more to add tethering capabilities to your current plan. Speaking of carriers, I wonder how they’re going to feel when they realize el Goog just circumvented one of their current schemes to screw customers by charging them twice for the same data connection?

Glass: If You Don’t Understand It, Ban It

Despite all the misinformed media coverage and FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) surrounding Google Glass I have gone 8 months without a single negative incident… until today. I was asked to leave Grand Coffee on Mission Street in San Francisco. Granted, it is a private establishment and a rather small space, the first thing I asked the manager was:

“Have you ever worn Glass? Do you know what it’s all about?”

Her response was quickly “No.” But she went on to say that she doesn’t want customers or employees to feel uncomfortable. I asked if she doesn’t allow cellphones either and she said she asks that people don’t talk on their cellphone while in the store. Talking on your cellphone in a small space and wearing glasses seem like totally different things, right? I was asked to sit outside if I wanted to stay for coffee.

This was a very discouraging event for me because I have been so energetic about evangelizing Google Glass for so long. How is it that with so many thousands of Explorers there is still this huge amount of confusion about the device? And now that I have my Glass integrated with my frames, what am I supposed to do other than leave the establishment? Since I have a pretty ridiculously strong prescription, I simply can’t share my Glass as much as I used to… so where is Google?

Back at the beginning of December, ABC News made a hugely public display of their misunderstanding of Glass. Reporter George Stephanopolous made a mockery of Glass by fumbling with the device on air. He tried to push the device in front of his eye, when it is supposed to sit above your eye, out of the way. And Google didn’t provide a response. We, Explorers, simply griped about it in our own Community… yet the public saw what they saw. The fear and confusion continues to grow.

I really wish that Google would step up and truly educate the public about Glass. Let’s see television commercials! Google is rich, they know that you can buy safe youtube views here Let’s see a Google representative appear on talk shows and showcase the real way to use Glass! Let’s see Google reach out to local communities and explain that Glass doesn’t cover up your vision and is not a distraction.

It’s been almost a year. Glass is not a new thing anymore. Why is there still this confusion and fear?

I am not recording you.

Gaming on Glass, a new canvas for developers

My two favorite technology products of 2013 were both from Google: Glass and Chromecast. A Glass Development team, Byte an Atom, has brought the two together in what I believe is the next advancement in Glassware. Their Glass app, LynxFit, is an amazing Glassware that helps motivate users to work out by providing notifications and reminders, as well as training programs, directly on Glass. Their newest feature allows Glass Explorers to cast workouts to their television using Chromecast.
lynxfit
I had the opportunity to interview CEO of Byte an Atom, Noble Ackerson, about LynxFit and Chromecasting on Glass. He discussed how Glass has the opportunity to revolutionize the gaming industry by connecting the virtual and real worlds:
As an emerging computing platform, the Glass device is different enough to give developers a fresh new way to interact with the world through gaming. Some of the advantages are obviously the hands free interaction and multiple inputs for interaction like voice, motion tracking, winking, touch gestures…
I asked him about his company’s vision for LynxFit, Glassware, and Chromecast:
“At Byte an Atom Research, we aim to improve wellness through wearable computers by making fitness fun with our LynxFit product. It’s because of this mission we launched LynxCast, a clever Google Glass integration with ChromeCast. So now, armed with the sensors in your Google Glass device, we deliver interactive gamified fitness content on the big screen TV for you to enjoy by yourself or to challenge your friends. Imagine playing Super Mario Brothers from Mario’s perspective, by using the motion tracking functionality in Glass we want to deliver an experience where you go through a 30 day fitness program, while you jump, dodge, duck and high knee run in place in your living room, out in the park, during your work break in your hotel room, etc.”
“The connected nature of Glass invites new forms of gaming, fitness, and educational apps; in our case LynxFit aims to do all three. It’s a clean canvas for us and it’s just the beginning. Cecilia, Mauro, and I are excited to see what the future brings.”

I, for one, love LynxFit and am excited to see how the gaming industry explodes with wearable computing by connecting Google Glass to Chromecast.
DISCLOSURE: Noble Ackerson is a Technical Advisor for LivingThruGlass.com

Driving with Google Glass

“ok glass, get directions”

When I first put on Glass, as I believe is the same for everyone, I took a picture. Taking photos is a very natural use of Google Glass; the camera is in your face, so taking a photo immediately comes to mind. For me, the second thing I asked my Glass was for directions. I was really curious about the Navigation interface, but my first impression was that the interface is negligible. The Google Maps Voice told me every turn I needed to make and the display, while rarely active, was magically there when I needed it and gone when I didn’t. My first real use of Glass, after the most basic “ok glass, take a picture,” was “ok glass, get directions Home.” And in fact the entire drive home, I was amazed at how easy it was to drive with Glass.

Recently there has been a lot of buzz about driving with Glass and whether it is or should be illegal. Take a look at these photos and let me know your opinion in the comments:

Driving Without Glass
Driving With Glass

Glass Explorer Cecilia Abadie recently fought back against a ticket that was issued to her for wearing Glass while driving and she won! She was pulled over originally for speeding, but was later assessed a ticket for “driving with a monitor visible.” Now, even though Glass could potentially display video or other content, it is not ideal due to battery life and usability and Cecilia stood by her claim that she was not actively using her Glass while she was driving. Glass can supply audio notifications (which are totally legal) without needing the screen to ever activate. And if Glass were being used for Navigation, wouldn’t that be legal?

Check out the press conference through Cecilia’s Glass:

I hope we can overcome our fear of driving with Glass and see the amazing possibilities the device can bring. Another Explorer, Det Ansin has been developing an application that connects his Glass to his car through Bluetooth. The added information he receives can surely make him a better, more responsive driver. Take a look at the his YouTube video showcasing his Glassware:

Another team of Glass Explorers, Jake Steinerman, Victor Kaiser-Pendergrast, Ryan Spletzer, and designer Jeremy Avery, have developed an app called DriveSafe for Glass. This app uses the Glass sensors to warn drivers when they fall asleep and their head dips. It then provides directions to the nearest rest stop so that the driver can rest until they’re ready to continue on their journey. Surely Glass is valuable while driving when applications like these are available.

drivesafe-for-glass

My opinion hasn’t changed throughout my entire experience as a Glass Explorer. I feel very strongly that not only is it safe to drive with Glass, but it’s safer than driving without.

Stereo Headphones and New Lenses coming to Glass

We’ve all heard about the new Glass Accessory Store, but what about the future accessories? After I got the chance to order my Glass the other day I noticed the accessories under the page and decided to look through the code. While looking through the code I noticed a couple of un-announced accessories. Please note that these are all based of code and are not official nor are the prices final.

Google-Glass-Store-art-620x349

Headphones – The new version of glass is shipping with a mono headphone that “provides high-quality sound for phone and video calls.” But hidden in the code is also the description for a Stereo Headset. “Engineered specifically for Glass, the Stereo Earbuds provide high-quality sound for music, phone and video calls.” This also tells us that music is coming to glass soon and maybe even video streaming imagine watching your favorite Netflix shows or your iptv provider for a new and immersive experience. The Stereo Headphones are priced at $100 right now as opposed to the Mono Headphone which is priced at $50.00.

art-gglglssnewsh9870adf-620x349

art-ggl22glssnewsh9870adf-620x349

Lenses – Included with every purchase of Glass is the ‘Active Shade’ but if you break that you are out of luck, for now, the Active Shade is not listed but is in the system and priced at $150.00. While the optional Clear Shield is available in the Accessory Store for $75.00.

Something I noticed when going through code was a couple of product numbers, these have no name, no pictures or anything except for the price of $150.00 and description. One of the descriptions is “For a bolder look.” and the other is “For timeless style.” While we have no clue when these will launch it seems as if Glass will be getting its share of Lens accessories in due time.

Ok Glass, submit new Glassware

Today’s post by Tim Jordan moves us one step closer to the rumored Glassware Boutique in XE10 which should be coming at some point this month. Tim announced several new Glassware (SportsYapper, Fancy, Mashable, KitchMe and Thuuz) have passed through the new development system and should be available in the MyGlass App. These new apps cover a broad range of interests from sports to news to shopping to cooking.

Ok Glass let's cook

Ok Glass let’s cook

The upside of going through the new submittal process is that by completing the Glassware review process, you will make your Glassware eligible to show on the MyGlass app. You’ll also be eligible to receive quota beyond the testing limit, which for a developer  like Thuuz which deals with sports data is probably a welcome relief.

Keep up with all things sports via Thuuz

Keep up with all things sports via Thuuz

The developer site is setup to help folks with a Launch Checklist and getting you through the submission process. It covers branding, context, icon requirements, screenshot needs and design concepts including menus, settings, and sharing.

Screenshot requirements for submission

Screenshot requirements for submission

The site also lays out some rules on using personal data, keeping information up to date, security and privacy regulations. Content policies are also clearly defined, with the usual prohibitions of adult/illegal/gambling content.

What not to do with Glass

What not to do with Glass

With the Boutique rumored to be launching with XE10, one has to wonder how quickly the submission to approval process will take. With an expected early 2014 consumer release, many developers seem to foresee a potential new app store gold rush. If consumers can walk into a robust app market with Glass from day 1 (along with some efficiency and battery life enhancements), their experience will be very different from the initial limited experiences of Glass Explorers, and may be just the market motivator Glass needs to break into the mainstream.

XE10 is rumored to bring native Glass apps. Here’s how to sideload now.

Russell Holly announced today that XE10 (the October update for Glass) is rumored to bring native apps to the Glass platform, but many Glass Explorers already sideload Android apk files onto their Glass in order to test the more robust functionality of the device. While working with Adam Singer on my recent Do we need Chrome on Glass article, he helped me document the process:

  1. Backup an apk from your phone or tablet. In order to do this, you’ll first need to install the Android Debug Bridge which comes as a part of the Android SDK. In this tutorial we will be using the Chrome apk taken from our Android device.
    adb devices -l # get the specific device id
    adb -s root
    adb -s pull /data/app/com.android.chrome-2.apk
  2. Turn on debug mode for glass
    https://developers.google.com/glass/gdk
  3. Install Launchy, it helps a lot but is not required (optional step)
    http://songz.quora.com/Using-Launchy-to-launch-your-Android-app-for-Glass
  4. Install the backed up apk
    adb -s <specific device> install com.android.chrome-2.apk
  5. Use the following command to launch Chrome
    adb -s <specific device> shell am start -a android.intent.action.VIEW -n com.android.chrome/com.google.android.apps.chrome.Main -d http://www.google.com/

google_web_page

By this point, all you can do is scroll and tap (select links in our Chrome example). Mouse support is not directly available as we see in native Glass apps such as the GlassBrowser, but you can pair a Bluetooth keyboard. This requires a few extra steps:

  1. Backup a settings apk from your phone or tablet
    adb -s  pull /system/app/Settings.apk
  2. Install the settings apk
    adb -s  shell install Settings.apk
  3. Use launchy to access the settings view
  4. Enter the bluetooth configurations and pair up a keyboard. This is not always foolproof cause lack of input makes it hard to see the pin number. I seem to just fumble until this step works.

launchy_choose_screen

launchy_screen

settings_screen

search_for_devices_screen

connected_screen

Once you have Launchy and a Bluetooth keyboard your Glass is magically transformed into a computer, rather than a pair of futuristic glasses. You could try loading the Ingress apk and using a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse to interact with the game, or load Google Drive to scroll through your documents while on-the-go… the possibilities are endless, and with XE10 Glass will begin to realize many of our ideas and dreams for the platform.

Do we need Chrome on Glass?

The process of building apps for Glass through a set of RESTful services (the Mirror API) sounds amazing, but many of us still want more. While many developers have been looking forward to the Glass Developers Kit (GDK), where more robust native apps can be created, some of us have been dreaming of what Glass would be like with the full Web.

I spoke with Glass Explorer Adam Singer about his ideas. Adam is a software engineer who embraces the free and open source world of Dart programming. He is originally from Las Vegas and his professional life has been geared towards development of casino games, systems, and inventions. Currently, while living in San Francisco, his personal interests are highly focused on Dart development and the open source community surrounding it. Adam performed a full investigation into the Glass Browser that was added back in XE7:

Adam: “The Primary goal for me (in terms of Glass) is to explore how Dart can play a role in rapid prototyping and development on Google Glass. At first I thought it was the Android Browser cause the user agent is [Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 4.0.4; en-us; Glass 1 Build/IMM76L; XE8) AppleWebKit/534.30 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/534.30]. After digging into it more I can’t say for sure its the Android Browser but it shares some similarities. I’d take a good guess  that it has some common Android WebKit code. After taking some time to review the Android code base I’m guessing that “WebView*” related Java and cpp files probably play a role in the GlassBrowser.apk. When inspecting Glass from the Android Debug Monitor one can see that “HtmlItemView” objects are used for the Timeline cards.

HtmlItemView

The GlassBrowser is stripped down and not much is exposed to the user. A large amount of HTML5 and general Android Browser APIs are not available. My background in Android development is limited so most of my research and investigation comes from Android Debug Monitor, log files, and other random ways of poking around on Android systems. When it comes to Dart the quickest way to figure out if something works is by writing a small sample; if it works then it might be supported. If the sample does not work I drop it quickly and move on mainly because Google has not mentioned supporting the browser, its API, or HTML5. Since I enjoy hacking on Dart I just go with the flow and hope enough requests for built-in browser support happen.  The Java class that implements the view for the browser is called “WebBrowserWebViewImpl”; I could not find any reference to it in the core Android code base. I’m guessing it extends one of the “WebView” classes that do exist in the Android code base.

WebBrowserWebViewImpl

Ryan Weaving and I have been hacking at dart for some time now. Since the Breaking Glass Hackathon Ryan has been doing some amazing work towards creating a motion library https://github.com/dartglass/glass_motion in Dart that works on the GlassBrowser. We keep tossing ideas around on use cases and creating samples.”

Ryan and Adam were both part of the winning ‘GlassFrogger’ team with Jonathan FearnJeff Bond, and myself at the first Breaking Glass Hackathon this past August. The main goal of our team was to investigate what Dart  could do on Glass (and that lead us to building an interactive HTML5 game). Dart is a structured Web programming language that has the ability to compile to Javascript. Dart also ships with a great IDE called DartEditor. DartEditor has some really cool and awesome functionality such as letting a user browse applications from a local Web server. Also if you launch the application from a remote browser the DartEditor will compile to Javascript on the fly and deliver you a fully functioning application in Javascript. One extremely useful DartEditor ability is being able to see print statements from your code in the IDE. Adam used the command to send the url of my DartEditor that is located on the local network. In the past, he has found it really easy to just send it via the Google Glass Mirror API playground as a Timeline card. https://developers.google.com/glass/playground Using a card example https://gist.github.com/financeCoding/6480503:

So, what would Chrome provide that Glass currently doesn’t have?

Adam: “A fair amount, IMO. I’m not on the Glass team, I know little about the internals, all I can do is imagine that Chrome and HTML5 could be an amazing platform to develop against on Glass. It would probably require some additional APIs to be exposed from native interfaces or providers. The downside is we all know Chrome is fast but did not arrive to mobile devices until recently. So full support on something like Glass might just be a research project or not practical from Google’s point of view. There are a lot of good Web technologies that GlassBrowser could benefit from such as:

  • Offline cache – Think about pinning an application that is semi cached or can run on Glass offline.
  • WebGL – High speed rendering (with a few layers in-between) to the graphics card (or System on Chip in this case).
  • Geolocation – geolocation goes hand and hand with anything Glass related.
  • WebSockets – bi-directional communications mixed in, this would be a total hit.
  • Web Audio API – better processing of audio on device.

I think a case could be made for a lot of these technologies, its hard to cover each one in a short period of time. The downside of Chrome is it might consume more resources than a more native application such as GlassBrowser. The huge upside is UI/UX might evolve much faster if its possible to have quick edit/refresh cycles.”

I’d love to hear from other Glass Explorers in the comments… would you like to see Chrome on Glass or are you happy with the MirrorAPI/GDK options?

Okay Glass Let’s Operate

Chris Vukin and Team(evermed) are disrupting things in the Operating room by incorporating Google Glass into how doctor’s monitor the patient’s vitals, dictate notes and coordinate care. Team(evermed) has begun performing trail runs using Glass and their suite of Glassware in the OR as well as the general EMR workflow of the hospital staff.

Patient Data fed to Glass to keep the doctor situationally aware

Patient Data fed to Glass to keep the doctor situationally aware

Chris has posted a series of images from actual OR usage over the past few days. These tests included several features; patient data display, picture and video documentation for attachment to the patient’s Electronic Medical Record, and dictation. According to Chris, Vital Signs were manually entered and pushed to Glass via a Mirror based platform, pictures and video were captured and shared, dictation was also captured and shared.

Working in the Cathlab with Glass

Working in the Cathlab with Glass

This suite of Glassware that Team(evermed) is developing will improve the accuracy and completeness of documentation, provide hands free interaction for documentation, and give the provider the independence and ability to interface with pertinent patient data in real-time without pulling a team member away from their tasks to meet their needs (i.e. pulling vitals, images, notes, answering a page, placing an order, etc). This is an ongoing and expanding project for Team(evermed). These are all longitudinal studies, with deep links to their other developments in the healthcare/wellness space, and Chris hopes that  the studies run decades.

These three EMR solutions are aimed at covering 80% of the work providers do in their day to day routine on a computer; Results Review, Orders, Dictation.

The OR trials show off  the basis for the team’s first 3 Electronic Medical Record products, a provider Rounding Tool, Admitting Tool and Pharmacy Rounding Tool.

Team(evermed) isn’t focused just on the hospital as they also have a consumer Glassware in work called CPRGlass which will be presented at Stanford Medicine Xlate this month.


Glass isn’t the complete wearable solution from Team(evermed)’s perspective as they are also working to integrate not only Scanadu but other wearables and connected health accessories for automated data collection for analysis and care. They are looking to launch the new smart Electronic Medical Record platform for healthcare consumers and providers, a ubiquitous platform, web based and viewable on any device with a browser.

Scandu Scout, potential partner device for Glass

Scandu Scout, potential partner device for Glass

Today I was at the MEST Conference here in Houston and after hearing all the issues with EMR and seeing folks reaction to Glass, it seems that Team(evermed) is not only on the right track but leading the coming Glass revolution.

Glass XE9 Teardown shows new API coming for Glass, heavy optimization.

Google finally released the XE9 factory images, and resident teardown guru Fodawim has once again made quick work of dissecting the changes. While much of the changes were heavily geared towards maintenance (with the total image being reduced by over 20Mb), there were several other notable changes, including no longer needing the wifi hotspot, and the presence of a new photo and video API.

New functions present in this image include Posting (with multiple destinations, “post an update to”), listening tasks for the media player, and enhanced note taking ability.

PastedGraphic-5

GlassSearch.apk has been added to the package, GlassPeople.apk removed, and a “barhopper” library has been added for barcode reading.  Additionally, new functions referencing “boutique” have appeared, likely related to native glassware in the consumer edition:

“com.google.glass.boutique.glassware” and
“com.google.glass.boutique.SYNC_GLASSWARE”

Finally, three new API functions showed up which should make developers happy:

“ApiRecordVideoActivity”
“ApiTakePictureActivity”
“CameraApiActivity”

These seem to indicate coming enhancements in hardware access by the Mirror API, which should open up new development opportunities for apps on Glass.

Spotted anything else in your own XE9 teardowns? Let us know in the comments.