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Field Trip for Google Glass illustrates the perks (and creepiness) of being a cyborg

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August 21, 2013

Field Trip is a Google Glass app that notifies Glass wearers of nearby historical and prac...

Field Trip is a Google Glass app that notifies Glass wearers of nearby historical and practical landmarks

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It isn't hard to imagine how useful Google Glass could be. But so far that usefulness has been mostly limited to our imaginations. That's party because very few people own the wearable device, but it's also because its pre-launch laundry list of capabilities is still pretty short. However, a new port of the iOS and Android app Field Trip gives us a clearer glimpse of just how much of an impact Glass could have on our lives ... for better or worse.

Field Trip looks like it could be a killer app for Google Glass. The app taps into a database of location-based landmarks, ranging from the historical kind to the diner kind. When you're near something interesting, it pops up a card with some basic information about the landmark.

Woot! Augmented reality road trip!

In the video embedded below, we see a group of hip 20-something friends (isn't that always who stars in these videos?) go on a road trip. Our Glass-wearing protagonist receives notification cards about everything from hot air balloons to bike rental shops to natural geysers. Naturally, his augmented reality ultimately helps him to score a sweet date with the cutie pie he's been exchanging smiles with along the way.

Questions

As much as we like the smartphone version of Field Trip, we're going to hold back our praise for the Glass version until we get a hands-on. First, the iOS and Android version has been known to be a battery hog. When you add it to Glass, which (at least in its pre-release form) already reportedly has sketchy battery life, well, then you'd better complete that road trip in three hours or less.

It's also still hard to get past the fact that Glass makes you look like a distant cousin of Geordi Laforge. Notice that, in the video, nobody but our hero is wearing Glass (and he's almost exclusively viewed from a first-person perspective). If his love interest was also wearing Glass, would we just find the whole thing creepy and inhuman?

The big tradeoff of Google Glass is that you have to look like this

There are other questions posed by this otherwise compelling video. Can you really have such a Google Glass road trip while still fully experiencing the day? Might it disconnect you from those very surroundings you're researching? And isn't it a bit unsettling that nobody in the group seems to mind that our cyborg hero is filming their every move? Questions like these may surround Glass until we know whether it's the next iPhone or the next Segway.

You can check out the full Field Trip promo video below, and check out the source link for more info.

Source: Field Trip



About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
18 Comments

I don't give much of a hoot about Google Glass. I'd like to see the same functionality in a smartphone.

Anne Ominous
21st August, 2013 @ 02:10 pm PDT

With "Creepy" being the operative word. Just like turn by turn navigation makes you NOT know where you are, this technology makes you notice LESS of what really matters.

I dislike it when people that look at their phone all the time when socializing. Those goggles makes it worse. Even in the video you can see how the actor actually fails to notice things as he's too absorbed by facts dished up to him.

Half the fun on a trip is discovering things rather then being told. Yes, you might miss half the facts but instead you have your eyes out there and your heart and soul into the experience and the people around you.

I was in town the other day and noticed how half the people on the side walk had their smart phone in their hands looking at the thing. On a square sitting enjoying the sun, still staring at their screens. That is depressing enough.

Paul van Dinther
21st August, 2013 @ 02:16 pm PDT

I think this can be useful for some situations, but if overused, I can't help feeling that this will limit your experience of the environment somewhat. As a videographer I often film dance and theatre performances and I know that even though I am there and seeing the performance, experiencing it through through the lens is not the same as being an audience member, and I lose out on a lot of the overall visual and emotional experience of the art form because my focus is through the lens. I've also noticed when I'm travelling that I have to be careful not to get too involved with my camera, and let myself experience it through my own eyes and other senses, else I end up with lots of great photos, but not much of a sense of what it was like to be there.

Facebook User
21st August, 2013 @ 09:20 pm PDT

For this sort of use, count me out.

However...

...in a technical field? I'm all in! I'd love to download an app that gives me all the details on how to work on my car for example Just pop the hood and it recognises what's where and what I need to do to fix a particular thing, lists of tools required, etc.

I think it could also be useful from a medical point of view with a cut down/streamlined version for use in surgery or in the military.

Flame away as I'm not that up on what these things are capable of. Always willing to learn though...

Will Etherington
21st August, 2013 @ 11:30 pm PDT

I love the "sci-fi" nature of it but can't help but be a little negative about it.

Instead of enjoying the moment, looking at the beauty of nature and your date you are seeing pictures that other people have taken? It is like the people at concerts watching the show through their mobile phone as they try to record them.

Don't we want to engage in our environment?

Scion
21st August, 2013 @ 11:43 pm PDT

I once read the line (from some clever AC-loving urban celebrity) , " The 'great outdoors' is the space between your apartment door and the taxi."

Today, the "environment" is the space you engage by taking pictures with your moblie telephone.

duh3000
22nd August, 2013 @ 02:37 am PDT

This kind of technology has a lot to offer for military use but as others have noted, and as we have all seen many users are enveloped by the screen in front of them. In a tactical setting paying so much attention to viewing, gathering, and sharing info might seem useful but can leave plenty of time to put cross hairs on you. A distracted soldier can easily become a pop-up target for the opposition.

StWils
22nd August, 2013 @ 11:41 am PDT

I suppose this could work in certain cases for me as I already wear glasses . BUT , I think it would cause a huge disconnect between you "me" and your "my" environment most of the time . You're looking even more traffic accidents and people walking in front of moving equipment . Over all it's going to be for mentally lazy people who can't be bothered to think or plan ahead .

randomray
22nd August, 2013 @ 11:47 am PDT

too distracting. NEXT....

Bob Smogango
22nd August, 2013 @ 12:23 pm PDT

If this sells, what's to stop them from writing an app that accesses the Kama Sutra? BodyTrip.

Fritz Menzel
22nd August, 2013 @ 01:35 pm PDT

Brave soul to be wearing such an expensive piece of equipment while riding on an inflatable raft.

Joel Detrow
22nd August, 2013 @ 01:55 pm PDT

Here's something better.How about these media sites not using the word creepy or weird everytime something new comes out.The progression of technology is enevitable.You can be on the cutting edge or sit around and be an old fart ,hating on everything.Your choice.Get you head outta your ass and evolve.When GG comes out or whatever augmented reality device appears.I will buy it.The integration of humans and computers is coming and quickly.You better buckle up because this is nothing.Infant steps.Wait til 2019..LOL...The expotential development of this technology will be completely off the charts.You're fighting a tidal wave.Go with it.

Mike Brown
22nd August, 2013 @ 03:26 pm PDT

Beats stumbling through life while looking down at your smart phone. May have to look at depth perception issues though. Could be a bear to explain that, even though you were "heads up" your mind was elsewhere.

Mirmillion
22nd August, 2013 @ 08:17 pm PDT

I agree that it could be very distracting hence very detracting from your experience. It's use in this situation would be better if instead of blurting onto the screen every possible bit of available info it just gives a prompt that info is available for you to choose whether or not to access. Also making the text available as a soundbite would make possible continual visual surveillance of your surroundings.

One last thought: it'd be cool if it could sense things a bit more intimately. For instance: GG informs you "the subjects microexpressions and increase in pulse rate and bloodflow to the face indicate she's into you dude"!

SciGuy3822
23rd August, 2013 @ 09:55 am PDT

This might be good to get out of the office, work outside. But not socially.

Hopefully one day people will all stop looking down at little screens.

Jacked
23rd August, 2013 @ 11:10 pm PDT

@ Scion

I was out with some friends on a nature walk and there was a guy along who was almost blind. He used his digital camera to see as it could focus and adjust to low lighting for him.

I tried the same thing at a concert and ...lo and behold, I could see BETTER with the camera. I predict that many people with poor eyesight (that's all of you as you get older) will be seeing the world through tiny screens in the future.

Doug MacLeod
25th August, 2013 @ 11:47 am PDT

Why didn't it show his speed when travelling in the car? THAT would have been useful. All the other info was just "directed reality" where every user of the app gets the same 'infosperience' of what should be unique and disparate sensory experiences.

T N Args
25th August, 2013 @ 05:45 pm PDT

Some people like to discover, some people like to be told what is. Merits in both.

I personally prefer balloon fun facts like in those old music videos.

A capacitive touch strip on the side of the glasses would be a must, allowing users to touch with up to 3 fingers for different functions, like menu nav, video recording/camera, or just to turn the damn things off.

If the product was resilient enough to take more vigorous movement, the glass would be ideal for exercising. Displaying heart rate and terrain stats as you jog.

Countdown to the next checkpoint, or even a feature to jog with your ghost from previous sessions.

Nairda
25th August, 2013 @ 10:03 pm PDT
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