Simon's Technology Blog

Google Glasses - VirtuAssist

About The Blog

This is a new feature to our E learning newsletter section, i want to keep the College staff and anyone who's interested up to date with new developments and projects using technology. Hope you find it interesting and feel free to comment! This is the first one and what a way to start! We have been using Google glasses in collaboration with TechnoSite and their fantastic Virtuassist App....

Google Glasses.....

I must admit on first hearing about Google glasses I was more Than a little sceptical , was this just another gimmick like so many other failed gadgets before I'm old enough to remember the migraine inducing virtual boy by Nintendo! There have been other failed innovations involving tech and headsets over the years and my immediate assumption was that Google glasses would fall into this category, guess what I was wrong! The context I have used them in was that of my job as head of e learning at a specialist college for adults with a range of learning disabilities. And with both my professional and personal hat on I can confidently say the glasses will revolutionise how we engage with technology and each other. The possibilities are endless and I particularly like the idea that I can view the world through someone else's eyes (literally if I followed their camera feed from their glasses!) this makes tech an enabler of empathy the vehicle we can use to travel in someone else's shoes something I feel would be of increasing benefit to our busy and often blinkered society. The scope of how this tech could potentially change lives is limitless, having worked with young adults with disabilities for a number of years I feel I understand some of the travails and how day to day tasks can be a real problem. Using Google glasses they can break down so many barriers and allow the glasses to enable them to complete tasks with greater levels of independence through sequencing apps and augmented reality, this is a really exciting time to be working with technology in education and rather than sceptically scoff we should embrace this and run with it ensuring the young people we work with will have access to the best opportunities. During the two days I have been working with the glasses with our students I have had the pleasure of working with virtuassist which is technology designed and developed by a fantastic Spanish company called Technosite. The work they have done to develop an app that adults with a learning disability can access through Google glasses is remarkable and I firmly believe it will change the way we work with and support our students in the future. Despite it still being in development and in its infancy I was thoroughly impressed with how versatile the product is and how few glitches or problems we encountered. Our students used the glasses with Virtuassist to use a printer. Virtuassist broke the individual tasks down and presented via the glasses both a visual and auditory guide. What was even more amazing was how well the students took to this new equipment. Two students who would definitely have required verbal support from staff to complete this task in the past did it independently it was moving to bare witness to the power technology can have in enriching and empowering lives. My final thought/hope is that we can continue to work with TechnoSite and enable our learners to shape the way Virtuassist is used in the future designed for them and most importantly with them.

Simon Gale

How it Feels [through Google Glass]