Google Glass Is Back with AI
Jeffrey Heimgartner posted on July 30, 2018 |
Improvements in voice interfaces and image recognition give Google Glass a second chance

Head-mounted displays (HMDs) have been options for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) displays for a while now. Some have proven to be more popular and successful than others. One HMD that struggled to stay in consumers good graces was Google Glass. Shortly after its unveiling in 2012, it was named one of the best inventions of the year by Time Magazine. Additional hype from the likes of Vogue, The New Yorker, The Simpsons, The Morning Show, Saturday Night Live, as well as names like Prince Charles and Oprah Winfrey, seemed like it would only cement Google Glass’s place at the top of the AR and VR HMD list.

As quickly as it began, it was announced that Google Glass, as we knew it, was going away. Poor technical reviews, low battery life, bugs and privacy concerns all contributed to Google Glass being put on the shelf. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), however, Google Glass may be getting a second chance and a whole lot smarter.

Earlier this week the Israeli software company, Plataine, showed off its new app for Google Glass. The technology is targeted for manufacturing employees. It understands spoken languages and generates verbal responses based on what users tell it. It’s like the Amazon Alexa meant for the factory floor. AI helps make the app more functional and easy to use. There are plans to add image recognition to the app as well. Plataine built the app with the support of Google and AI services provided by Google’s cloud division. It’s already off to a great start with some big-name users such as GE, Boeing and Airbus.

Google Glass is a hands-free device for hands-on workers.
Google Glass is a hands-free device for hands-on workers.

HMDs like Google Glass make a logical tool for the factory floor, where laptops and smartphones aren’t always a good solution. Some real-world examples that Plataine cites are an employee clocking in for the day and receiving a report about production issues that require attention. Also, another employee could walk into the supply room and say, “Help me select materials.” Google Glass would respond both verbally and visually with what supplies were needed and where they could be found. Factory supervisors would also be able to see firsthand what was happening on the floor by Google Glass syncing into software Plataine already provides customers, such as Airbus, to track production operations.

Plataine’s app and the addition of AI to Google Glass seem to make it a perfect fit for the factory floor. Also, the upcoming image-recognition capabilities to the app mean it will be able to read barcodes, recognize tools and more. The technology also lends itself to training, quality control inspection and maintenance. Virtual instructions could be projected onto the field of vision, ensuring proper execution with the right tools and the right steps, even in complex situations where high precision and tight tolerances are required. Improving safety, reducing errors, enhancing efficiencies and streamlining processes should help ensure that Google Glass is back for good.

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