Prescription Google Glass – Round 2

JoshHighland-Google-Glass-Prescription-Lenses-Round2

Last month I modified my Google Glass to work with my prescription lenses. It was better but there was still room for improvement. Some of the problems I had:

  • The zip tie was tight but, the shortened arm of my eye glasses could slip out. A few times I took my glass out of my bag and it had come undone
  • The zip tie allowed the for glass to pivot up and down. This made it difficult to keep the Glass optic aligned if I was doing anything active.
  • It looked weird – I had a zip tie holding everything together!

I decided that something had to be done. After some thought, I realized that shrink tubing my be the answer.

Positives to shrink tubing:

  • More surface area connecting the Glass to the frames = more stability, less vertical wiggle.
  • Less likely to come apart
  • Still a semi-permanent non-destructive solution – I could always put it back to the default factory configuration.
  • Better looking – no more zip tie, very little bulk

Negatives to shrink tubing:

  • Less room to adjust the alignment of Glass
  • Using a heat gun on the sensitive Glass – could melt / damage them

After weighing out the pros and cons I decided to go for it!

I assembled my tools. Shrink tubing, a heat gun, scissors, an exacto knife, and my Glass / Glasses creation.

 

1-theTools

I started by cutting off the zip tie that has holding it all together.

2-tearDown

Next I cut the shrink tubing to length. I had to be able to reach all the inputs on the Glass – the power button, USB port and camera trigger.

3-cuttingTubing

Next I had to stretch the tubing a bit. Out of the package, it was too small to fit over the optic. I places the tube onto the scissors and opened them, stretching the tube wider.

4-tubeStretching

Once stretched, I slid the tube over the optic and onto the arm of Glass.

5-overTheOptic

Paying close attention, I made sure that the tube was ale to clear the USB port, camera trigger and power button.

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7-usbPort

8-powerButton

Once I got everything where I wanted it and aligned, I used a zip tie to hold it in place. I plugged an old USB cable into the port in an attempt to protect it a little bit during the heat shrink process.

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I decided to wrap as much of the Glass as I could into a heavy rag to protect it from some of the heat during the heat shrink process.

10-readyToShrink

It didn’t take long for the heat gun to get hot. I slowly ran the gun over the tube, shrinking it to fit, being careful to not get anything too hot. This was a nerve wracking experience. I needed to shrink the tube, but not damage the Glass. It was a balancing act.

11-shrunk

I let the tubing cool down before I remove the zip tie and unplugging the USB cord. I was very happy with the end results. The tube had shrank down, firmly sandwiching the Glass to the frame of my prescription glasses.

11-shrunkCleanUp

Glass powered up with no problem. I hadn’t killed them! To my surprise, touches worked through the plastic tubing! Bonus win!

12-bootup

I opened up the “MyGlass” app on my Nexus 7 – Bluetooth and Wifi were still working.

13-nexusTest

I also tested the USB port for charging and data transfer. Both tests worked. Next was taking pictures and video. Both of those passed as well. I had done it.

14-done

The end result is a clean and nearly invisible fusion of my Google Glass and my prescription eye glasses.

15-done

16-done

17-done

This is the first time that I truly feel that Glass fits me properly. This is a game changer.

I know that Google is working on prescription Google Glass, and I really hope that I’m part of that pilot program. Until then, I plan on pushing the limits of Glass. I’m a member of the “Google Glass Explorer Program”, explorers take risks and discover new things. That’s what I’m trying to do.

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I have a feeling that this won’t be my last mod to Glass. I have more ideas but they start getting into the destructive realm and I’m not sure if I’m willing to go down that one way path. Time will tell.

 

Google Glass Prescription Lenses

Josh Highland Google Glass Prescription Lenses

Update – I’ve hacked them once again!

Before I picked up my Google Glass, I knew they didn’t support prescription lenses. To prepare for the Google Glass, I went to my optometrist and got fitted for contact lenses. She tried to talk me out of getting contacts due to the shape of my right eye (severe astigmatism). She explained that contacts would most likely not be comfortable and to stick to glasses. Knowing that Google Glass didn’t support prescription lenses, I got contacts anyways. I should have listened to the doctor, the contacts were HORRIBLE! I immediately switched back to my Warby Parker eye glasses for daily wear.

I tired to wear my Google Glass with my eye glasses, but there was no way to make it work. Luckily I can see pretty good up close, so I was able to wear my Google Glass by themselves. There was no way that I could drive a car, work on a computer, or carry on daily life without my eye glasses, so my Google Glass had remained somewhat of a novelty. I would take off my eye glasses, put on my Google Glass and show people the future, but as soon as the demo is over I take the Glass off and put my eye glasses back on.

Today I realized that I hadn’t really worn my Google Glass in a few days. It really upset me. I want Glass to be a part of my daily life, but without support for prescription lenses, it wasn’t going to happen. I decided to do something about it. I was willing to take apart my Google Glass if I had to. I was going to make them work with my prescription lenses at any cost.

I started by removing the only exposed screw on the Google Glass. It’s located just above the right temple, and can be removed with a Torx-5 bit. After loosing the screw, the titanium headband is easily detached, leaving the main Glass unit.

IMG_0736IMG_0738-1IMG_0739Looking at my options, I took and old pair of my 141 eye wear and decided to cut the right arm. I used a pair of wire cutters to get the job done. After my first cut, I realized that I was going to need to cut it a bit shorter, so that the power button for the Glass was exposed.IMG_0740IMG_0741-1IMG_0743-1With the arm at a minimal length, I was left to figure out how to attach the Glass to my glasses. I first tried double stick tape, but it just wasn’t strong enough. I didn’t want to use glue and risk damaging the plastic housing. Instead of getting fancy, I went with a very cheap, low tech solution – a zip tie, or wire tie. I just happened to have a black one in my tool box.

After snugging down the zip tie and cutting off the excess, the whole assembly felt very solid and fit very well. The side of Google Glass is touch sensitive but the tie doesn’t seem to interfere with  it’s responsiveness.IMG_0744-1IMG_0748-1IMG_0749-1For the first time, I was able to see Glass through my prescription lenses. I could truly appreciate the quality of the display optic. Images were more vibrant and clear. This is the experience I was looking for from the beginning. This is going to let me wear Glass on a daily basis, and it cost me less than $0.01 to do it! I may try to use a thinner zip tie so its not so obvious. Then again, I have a computer hanging off my face and I think that most of the attention will be focused on it. IMG_0750-1IMG_0751-1Maybe Google feels that the people who have the Glass Explorer Editions are true explorers and pioneers, and they will find a way to make prescription lenses work. Maybe Google hasn’t found a good way to make lenses work for most people. All I know is that I have found a way to make Glass work for me, and this is the start of something awesome. Look out world!

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Getting Google Glass

Google_Glass_logo

About 3 weeks ago I got an email from Google telling me that my Glass were ready for pick up. I paid online and scheduled my fitting / training session at the Google Santa Monica locations. I was also allowed to bring a guest to the Google campus.

When the big day finally arrived, I took the day off work, grabbed my fellow geek, Curtis Rissi (@boringgeek), and headed to the beach. The Google Santa Monica office was kind of hard to find. There is nothing on the outside that says Google, so we drove around a bit. I realized that it was right in front of the famous Venice Gold’s Gym (the home of all the golden era body builders)!

Once we got inside of the Google building, I was blown away. Everything was very “Google”. Everything I ever heard about Google felt true. First off, EVERYONE was wearing glass. We were greeted by our “Glass Guide” Arthur. We were welcomed then walked through the campus on a short tour. We walked through a nice open courtyard with giant chess pieces, tether ball, swinging chairs, and tables to work /eat at. To my surprise, there were children playing on the grass. Arthur told us that employees can invite their families onto the campus to eat lunch with them at the Cafe (which is 100% free).

We walked into a building on the far side of the courtyard, up some stairs, and into a loft area that was setup for for the Glass program. Everything was very open and modern looking. We met another glass guide, Marina, who helped me pick out the color of my Glass . I went with black.

Arthur sat down with me, and we dove into the unboxing. The packaging was very “Apple” like. There was a lot of detail and care that went into the boxing of Glass.

To celebrate the unboxing experience, they brought me over a bottle of Coke (how did they know I looked bottled coke??? Oh that’s right, I’ve made posts about it… Google knows all).

When I put Glass on for the first time, I was impressed with how light they were. They are hardly noticeable. I think my Warby Parker eye glasses weigh more. Arthur helped adjust they “stems” of the Glass so they were positioned correctly on my face. When wearing Glass, looking straight ahead, you don’t see them. You have to look up and to the right to see the display. The display’s clarity is amazing. The images just float out in space and are vivid and bright.

The audio was another feature that I was blown away by. Glass uses bone conductivity to transmit sounds into you head. It feels bizarre because the sound isn’t entering your ears, its just… in your head. Very strange, but it works very well.

We walked me through all the features:

  • Taking photos
  • Recording videos
  • Doing a Google search
  • Starting a “hangout”
  • Answering a call
  • Sending an email
  • Reading an email
  • Adding apps (twitter, cnn)
  • Connecting to bluetooth
  • Connecting to Wifi

There was some configuration that we needed to do. We used a new Chrome book pixel to set things up. Man, that was a nice computer! It felt SUPER solid and the construction and very Mac like. They keys were nice to type on. The display was bright, sharp, and touch sensitive! Curtis was in love.

I think that my appointment ran long because, well, I’m a geek, and I wanted to know how every feature worked.

Overall, we were at Google for two hours. Two amazing hours. I feel very luck and blessed to be accepted as part of the Google Glass Explorers.

I will be making follow up posts about what it’s like to live with Glass. For now, you can keep up with my Glass adventures on my Google Plus account page

So yeah, now I’m “That Guy” in social situations…

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2013 Q1 Review – Glass Edition

2013 has been an interesting year for me so far.

Following my goals for 2013, I have been focused on building more software products and services that automate more of my income and help me payoff some debt. I’m finding great success with Shopify.com apps and consulting work. I should really blog about this more.

Yesterday I got an idea for a shopify app. I have a very strong feeling that its going to be great once I launch it. I’m hoping to have it done by the end of summer.

To help promote my clothing line, Wolves Clothing. I’ve brought on a partner / vice president. In a short time we have already started seeing some progress. I’m very hopeful for the future as we branch out and start to sponsor more bands, events and athletes.

Being a new father in a digital age has really changed things for me. In mid February I was at home having lunch, talking to my wife, when all of a sudden my son #JacksonHighland started trying to walk on his own. Amy acted fast, pulling out her iPhone and capturing a video of Jackson’s first steps.

The entire experience was amazing. Having my son walk to me was a great feeling, but the realization that I had a high definition digital copy of that experience really hit me hard. I will have a copy if that moment forever. I will be able to share that moment with my family, loved ones, and with Jackson himself when he gets older. I want to capture everything. I don’t want to miss moments like this.

I also realized that I have a digital photo of him from every day that he’s been alive, and those will last forever as well. I have a few dozen pictures of myself as a child, Amy only has a hand full of baby pictures of her (Her house burned down in 2003). Jackson is going to end up with thousands of images of him growing up.

The day after Jackson took his first steps, Google announced a contest called #IfIHadGlass. In 140 characters or less you had to tell them how you would use Google Glass if you got a pair, and include the hashtag #IfIHadGlass.

One of my goals for 2013 was to try a pair of Google Glasses. If I was able to wear a pair for 5 minutes, I would consider this goal accomplished. I submitted the following to the contest:

I have an 11 month old son. Every day he does something new and amazing. #ifihadglass, I would always have a camera ready to capture those moments forever, and share them with family and loved ones. He will only take first steps, and say his first word once.

I also attached the video of Jackson’s first steps.

Yesterday I found out that I was accepted into Google Glass Explorer program! I’m getting a pre-release pair of Google Glass! It’s still hard for me to believe.

IfIHadGlass Winner

I love the concept of wearable computers. If you know me well, you know that I would love to augment myself with digital parts. I’ve always wanted a heads up display, just like RoboCop, The Terminator, and The Predator.

My entry to Google is genuine. I will mostly be capturing video and images of Jackson growing up. I will always have a camera available when he starts to do something new and awesome. I can’t wait.

I imagine that Google Glass will change a lot of things in my life. I’m going to be doing a lot of testing, app developing and blogging about Google Glass. Stay tuned!

Picard Google Glass