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Google Glass tested at Veterans United

Veteran's United

Google Glass may seem like space-age technology, but that doesn’t mean it’s only for Star-Trek fans.

The innovative device is a pair of glasses with a small screen above the right lens that functions as an extension of a user’s Smartphone. Glass can be used for a variety of functions like taking pictures, shooting video or replying to email all with voice commands. Additional features are in the works and third-party designers are in the process of building apps for the glasses.

The gadget won’t hit the market until sometime next year, but Veterans United’s Sarah Hill is one of about 8,000 people who get to test out Glass before it’s released to the public. At a recent demo in Columbia, she talked about how the technology will revolutionize several fields.

“Glass has a bright future for medicine, doctors are using it for surgery,” Hill said. “It has a bright future for journalism. We at the Veterans United Network are using it for storytelling and to give veterans virtual tours. And people are using it in education to show children a first-person perspective of an event.”

Hill sees journalism in particular as a place where Glass will have a big impact.

“Essentially, it is a broadcast tower for your face,” she said. “So you’re not just sending back or tweeting still pictures of an event, you’re walking through an event and having a living, breathing conversation with people as it happens.”

Hill is testing Google Glass at her current job as chief storyteller for Veterans United. She said the live Google Hangout feature is an invaluable tool for showing war memorials like those in Washington D.C. to veterans who can’t travel.

“I’m able to walk through [the memorial]; I’m able to show them the bronze relief panels on the side,” Hill said. “They’re [veterans] able to hear the Rainbow Pool and the sound it makes from the fountain in the background. It’s essentially taking veterans to a place where they might not otherwise be able to see.”

Hill sends suggestions and critiques to Google as part of her role as a tester and says there are still improvements to be made. She says features like an external microphone, volume control and improved battery life would all make Glass even better.

This story originally aired as part of Business Beat, a weekly program about business and economics in mid-Missouri.

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