I’d like to present you an excellent video from TED-Ed today, my favorite online television. This time you’ll see some interesting stuff about the prototyping process behind Google Glass.
Just a quick note: TED-Ed is one of the best channels for education, and entertainment. They pair remarkable educators with hugely talented animators to deliver some of the best educational videos you can find on the Internet today. TED-Ed, which is part of TED, has a YouTube channel too, always broadcasting exceptionally interesting videos.
Google will present Google Glass to developers today + tomorrow in San Francisco and the 1st + 2nd of February in New York. The introduction to developers is expected to be a real event.
But how did they arrive to the model that will be presented in few days?
Prototyping Google Glass
The video above is presented by +Tom Chi, who spent two years of his life building the user experience team for the Google division responsible for the futuristic projects they take on within Google organization, such as self-driving cars and Google Glass.
As you probably know already, Google Glass allows you to overlay digital things into your eyes sight but still giving you the chance of being part of the world that surrounds you. This is incredibly different from using a smartphone; when you use your mobile device you kind of alienate yourself from the surrounding environment. Google Glass’s project has the vision of allowing you to be part of the world but simultaneously let you access the digital things that you need and love.
Tom Chi, and his team, arrived to the first model of the Glass implementing “Rapid Prototyping”.
Tom's team had to face 3 main problems to get Google Glass done:
- How would you prototype Google Glass?
- How would you prototype Minority Report kind of style?
- How would you think about a comfortable shape and size?
How would you prototype Google Glass?
So, how long do you think it would take to prototype the first working version model of Google Glass? The answer is 1 day. In fact, the prototyping rule #1 is:
Using a very simple set up, the team was able to implement the very first idea of what it looks like having digital things overlaid in the physical world.
How would you prototype Minority Report kind of style?
After the first step, Tom and his team tried to go a little further. They tried to do something like Minority Report kind of style. Imagine that for a second: how cool could it be to see and reply to emails just by using your hands and fingers!?
And if this could be possible, you could be able to manipulate software with your hands, interact with the machine itself, manage emails with your fingers.
Thus again, how long would you need to prototype that? The answer is: only 45 minutes. In fact, the prototyping rule #2 is:
They actually made it, they built up a very rudimental device by which they could control software through the movement of their body. So, for example, you could be able to do a presentation on Power Point by just using your arms: moving your right arm once would flip a slide forward, and moving your left arm would flip the slide backwards.
But ultimately, they figured out that they should not put that feature in Google Glass, that would be too “socially awkward”, as Tom says in the video. Ergo, the importance of the second rule of prototyping is “doing is better than thinking”, because it lets you arrive to conclusions faster.
How would you think about a comfortable shape and size?
Tom and the Google team researched around the web to get inspiration on how to build Google Glass. They found out many companies and teams tried to carry on the same vision, but the majority of those pieces of hardware were not comfortable enough to be worn every day.
So, how do you figure out a way to build that, which can be worn comfortably? The answer is in prototyping rule #3.
The team basically focused on using very simple basic material such as paper, clay and modeling wire to experiment with. That reminds me of the famous KISS rule: keep it simple silly!
What do you think about Google Glass? Cool stuff? What would you feel wearing and using something like that? Leave your thoughts below. Thank you!
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