For all of the criticism and backlash Google Glass has generated in regards to privacy, there are some genuine benefits that the headset brings to the table. One good example of this is a new app for the wearable called Captioning on Glass.
Developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the app is able to convert spoken words into text that is shown on the unit’s display in near real-time. That may not sound all that useful but for someone with a hearing impairment, it could be immensely useful.
School of Interactive Computing Professor Jim Foley said it allows wearers like him to focus on the speaker’s lips and facial gestures. If hard-of-hearing people understand the speech, the conversation can continue immediately without waiting for the caption. However, if I miss a word, Foley said he can glance at the transcription, get the word or two that is needed and get back into the conversation.
As one of Foley’s colleagues and technical lead on the project, Thad Starner, points out, Glass has its own microphone but it is designed for the wearer.
For that reason, the app has been designed to work with an Android smartphone so it can utilize the phone’s microphone. The person with the hearing impairment wears Glass while the other person speaks directly into the smartphone. The speech gets converted into text and shown on the Glass display.
Having to use a smartphone with the app means it won’t exactly be ideal for talking with strangers but as the researchers point out, it was designed to be used among friends, trusted acquaintances or while making purchases.
The app is currently being prepped for public use although no ETA was given.