Google Glass Demands Attention Even Though Hands-Free

Google Glass in action. (Photo by flickr user EricaJoy via cc by sa 2.0)
Google Glass in action. (Photo by flickr user EricaJoy via cc by sa 2.0)

Mitigating the high hopes some have for Google Glass and other wearable interactive media, new research indicates that the attention we direct to the information in a projected display (such as Google Glass) is sufficient distraction to endanger the person’s navigating or other activities.

Google Glass is intended to reduce problems such as trying to walk safely while also glancing down at a smartphone, and does so by putting the display in the corner of the lens of a pair of glasses. Similar thinking goes into designs for hands-free controls for phones in cars, and heads-up displays for pilots in planes.

However, research indicates that people can be so focused on thoughts or communication that they fail to notice obvious objects in their field of view.

Furthermore, we also tend to stretch our normal safe threshold for taking our eyes off the path ahead when we are involved in a communication task such as texting. To read about this research and more details on its implications for Google Glass and related technologies, see this New York Times article, “Is Google Glass Dangerous?”.