Google Glass may obstruct vision: study

5 Nov 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google Glass creates a small blind spot for users.

The characteristic hardware of the Google Glass frame partially obstructs peripheral vision above the right eye, according to an ophthalmologist who owns the wearable tech himself. “I actually had Google Glass, myself, when it first came out, and I almost got into a car accident when I didn’t see a car coming from the right,” said Dr.People wearing Google Glass might experience significant blind spots on their right side, which could interfere with tasks such as driving, crossing streets and playing sports, US researchers said on Tuesday.

Only three people were included in the analysis of the technology — which provides online access via a tiny screen attached to a spectacle frame — published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “To our knowledge, this is the first evaluation of the effect of wearable electronics with head-mounted display on vision,” said the researchers, who are based at the University of California, San Francisco. “The device created a clinically meaningful visual field obstruction in the upper right quadrant.” The blockage was due to the thick strip of material along the right side of the wearable device, not due to any distraction by the software, the scientists said. Visual tests, as well as an analysis of 132 images on the Internet of Google Glass being worn, showed that the gear lined up with people’s eyes in such a way that it obstructed their field of view. “Conventional spectacle frames can reduce visual field, sometimes causing absolute blind spots, and head-mounted devices have even more pronounced frames,” the article said. Head researcher Tsontcho Ianchulev and his team compared performance on visual field tests with Google Glass versus regular eyewear to examine their effect on visual function. In related news, LG Electronics Inc said yesterday it had signed a long-term cross-licence deal with Google Inc as LG tries to expand its smartphone business. The deal covers patents on a “broad range of products and technologies” that already exist and will be filed in the next 10 years, the two firms said in a joint statement.

The new research comes after a West Virginia state legislator last year introduced a bill that would ban the use of head-mounted gadgets while driving — a measure that was inspired by Google Glass. According to the Glass FAQ page, consumers should follow the laws in their areas regarding using mobile devices while driving or bicycling, and should use care even within the law. “This is a small study, we just wanted to make people aware,” he added. “There are thousands of these gadgets out there and people are biking, rollerblading, driving a car.” The blind spot could be minimized with a better fit or different design, he said. The spokesperson of the research stressed the importance of wearing Glass correctly, which is reviewed in the introductory materials for setting up the device.

Glass is a one-size device but people have different-sized heads, he observed. “One thing that was surprising was that Google announced a co-development project with Mercedes Benz in 2013,” Ianchulev said. “That’s probably not a great idea.”

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