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Google Glass dominates wearable tech session at DEMO Fall 2013

Three of the four demonstrators in the wearable technology session employed Google Glass, even though none of them know when it will be commercially available.

By , Network World
October 18, 2013 09:46 AM ET

Network World - Despite the uncertainty regarding when Google Glass will be made available to the public, entrepreneurs are betting their livelihood on the head-worn device.

Three of the four demonstrators that composed the wearable technology session at the DEMO Fall 2013 conference displayed technology based on Glass.

Pristine joined the growing market for Glass in the healthcare field, introducing a streaming video solution that allowed remote users to watch and interact via audio during healthcare procedures. Surgery was the example given on-stage, and the technology allowed for a remote user to call in, watch the surgery in real time, and consult the surgeon as he conducted it.

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The company claimed the technology is HIPAA-compliant, and aims to replace expensive, unwieldy solutions that enable streaming video for medical procedures. The cost for current technology can run into the tens of thousands, whereas Google has suggested a $300 to $500 price range for Glass when it becomes available to consumers.

Aside from the uncertainty around Glass’ release date, Pristine CEO Kyle Samani told panelists that the company has had trouble finding real-life settings in which it can test the technology. Testing in a hospital setting would require collaboration from across the facility – from physicians to patients to IT.

Fortunately, Pristine may have plenty of opportunities to find testing environments as Google bides its time developing the technology.

Another demonstrator, GlassPay, may also benefit from some extra time to develop its technology – a Glass-based technology that allows shoppers to make purchases by scanning barcodes on products.

The only catch, so far, is that GlassPay only allows purchases to be made with the digital currency Bitcoin. Although the demonstration functioned as intended, one noticeable flaw was that the display only showed the price for retail items in Bitcoin value. So a set of towels were shown to retail for 0.1 BTC, leaving the user to calculate the equivalent in USD. Not only will users need to have a Bitcoin Wallet in order to use GlassPay, they’ll need to keep up with the exchange rate on their own if they want to know the dollar-value of their expenses.

Later on in the Glass Pay demonstration, though, GlassPay CEO Guy Paddock explained that GlassPay is currently limited to Bitcoin only because it’s much easier to make quick online payments with Bitcoin than with cash. He expressed interest in integrated Google Wallet later on, which would open up a larger market.

In retrospect, the Bitcoin integration worked to Glass Pay’s advantage, for the purposes of DEMO at least. The company was only given a four-minute window in which to demonstrate its product, and Bitcoin involved much less risk of a verification issue on-stage. Similarly, Paddock also explained that a GlassPay app is already available for Android devices. Google Glass, however, attracts much more publicity than smartphone payment apps, landing GlassPay in the highly publicized wearable technology category.

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