BREAKING: A genuine, practical use for Google Glass has been found

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Google Glass has been around for a while now, but despite the best efforts of the “Glassholes”, as they’re affectionately known, no one has yet come up with a good reason why you’d want to mount Glass on your face and be seen in public like it. At least… until now.

Check out this video:

Researchers at Georgia Tech have come up with an app that uses Google Glass to provide Closed Captioning – or subtitles, as we call them – to wearers. Which could revolutionise life for the hard of hearing.

The college’s press release explained:

“This system allows wearers like me to focus on the speaker’s lips and facial gestures,” said School of Interactive Computing Professor Jim Foley. “If hard-of-hearing people understand the speech, the conversation can continue immediately without waiting for the caption. However, if I miss a word, I can glance at the transcription, get the word or two I need and get back into the conversation.”

[…]

“The smartphone uses the Android transcription API to convert the audio to text,” said Jay Zuerndorfer, the Georgia Tech Computer Science graduate student who developed the software. “The text is then streamed to Glass in real time.”

The app isn’t completely portable yet – it requires the person being spoken with to speak into a mobile phone connected via bluetooth to the headset – though it is easy to imagine Google incorporating accessibility features like this directly in the future.

Apparently the same group is also working on real-time translation software for Glass which has already been developed into two-way translation into English, Spanish, French, Russian, Korean and Japanese. Maybe once they’ve cracked universal translation they can move on to other Star Trek tech too?

James O’Malley

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