A UVa-Wise student has recently introduced a piece of Silicon Valley to the UVa-Wise campus that for the majority of the world is still unknown.
In early November, senior computer science and software engineering major Dakota Gallimore applied for and received one of the 10,000 testing slots in the world for the Google Glass, a wearable computer product that will release next year.
Gallimore, who also serves as webmaster for The Highland Cavalier, applied for the product on the basis he would develop a real-time language translator and offer tutorials for when Google Glass launches.
“Instead of asking how to say something to a different person you’ll actually be able to understand what they’re saying and then say, ‘How do I say this back?’ and it will tell you how to say it back to them,” Gallimore said.
Gallimore said the real-time language translator, which he’s dubbed Language Loop, has already worked for Spanish, French, English and German. He said he’s currently testing Chinese, Japanese and Korean and hopes to have seven languages at the product’s release.
Some challenges do exist for Gallimore in creating an app for a product not yet released.
“They give developers a sneak peek of what it can do, so they can go ahead and start programming apps for it but they don’t have full functionality, so they can’t do everything,” he said.
Gallimore said the creation of an app doesn’t determine whether or not it will be active in the Google store when Glass is released.
He said developers must adhere to a strict set of guidelines so that the app doesn’t interfere with other Glass functions and is intuitive.
Gallimore said that with a new product like Glass, a whole new set of apps are needed and for developers like him it’s really a race to develop.
“[Google Glass] is basically in its infancy,” he said. “All apps are starting over and it’s a ‘who gets there first’ type of situation.”
Gallimore said he’s personally had some fun with Glass getting driving directions, watching Youtube videos and enjoying his favorite activity with the device, listening to music.
“Always having a headset on is great and just whenever I’m feeling Christmas music I just say, ‘OK, Glass, listen to Christmas music,’ and it just automatically generates a playlist of Christmas music for me and plays it,” Gallimore said. “I don’t have to put anything in my ear; it has a speaker and uses bone conduction.”
UVa-Wise students have flocked to Gallimore, amazed about the new technology.
“They’re just genuinely curious,” Gallimore said. “When I let them try it on and they do it for the first time most of the time they just say, “OK, Glass, take a picture,’ and it does and their jaw just drops to the ground.”
Junior computer science major, Cynthia James, is one of those students who has been wowed by Google Glass and she says she hopes to be one of its future owners.
“It is seriously the coolest thing ever,” James said. “It’s still a work in progress, but getting to experience it first hand is awesome.”
Glass has wowed Gallimore and the student body, but, as with any pioneering product, he realizes there is some opposition.
“People combated cell phones back in the day saying it was a big privacy problem and now people cannot live without them,” Gallimore said. “But whether you like it or not wearable computing is coming and it may not just be Google Glass. That’s just the next step.”
Gallimore said he thinks the pros definitely outweigh the cons with Glass.
Gallimore cited an example of a point of view knee surgery done over the summer where a surgeon wearing Glass was able to confer with other surgeons at a different location. Gallimore also added Glass’s ability to bring technology users back into a real social connection.
“Devices that are going to be more accommodating to the human body and our lifestyles rather than having to accommodate within our lifestyle for the technology we use is the future,” he said. “With Glass, it’s built to be there when you want it and out of the way when you don’t.”
Gallimore said that in its early beginnings Google Glass is already a phenomenal tool and a window into the future, a future he can’t wait to see.
“What’s exciting is not what it can do today, but the possibilities of what we all can do with it tomorrow. That’s what’s really exciting about Google Glass,” he said.