Undercover Ops with Google Glass

November 18, 2013, By Daniel Rapcencu

As soon as Google Glass saw the light of day, privacy advocates were whining about how everyone’s privacy was in jeopardy. Visions of our most foolish actions being posted on YouTube and going viral with world-wide prominence, dance in our heads. Well, that is happening already, but such actions could really escalate without our knowledge.

Sunshade mounted on Google Glass

Sunshade mounted on Google Glass

Just about every tech-savvy person knows about Google Glass and can recognize someone wearing it. You can even tell when someone is recording or streaming video from Google Glass – it lights up as an indicator. So if you are talking with a person wearing Glass and it lights up, you can then decide if you wish to continue talking. This light is like the visual version of the “beep” that alerts you when a person is recording your phone call.

3D printed Sunshade

3D printed Sunshade

Now, there is an accessory anyone with access to a 3D printer and the appropriate plastic mix can make to prevent anyone from seeing the Google Glass light up. Now before you get all up in arms, this device did not start out as a tool for the spy in us. It started as an innocent solution to an annoying problem.

Chris Barrett was one of the lucky people to be able to pay $1,500 and get selected by Google to own one of the first coveted Google Glass devices. He wore his Glass everywhere and used all the features. Quickly he discovered that the visibility of the projected display did not work very well when looking toward bright backgrounds.

The solution developed into the Sunshade which is a covering that prevents the ambient light from entering the prism of the Google Glass and increases the contrast of the image. It also blocks the lighted prism from the view of people. Chris admits that this added benefit is useful: “Sunshade conceals Glass’ light, so now, when I’m wearing Glass in public, I attract a lot less attention.”

Maybe this technology will be adopted by private eyes and industrial spies. Who knows? Maybe Sunshade will spawn a new generation of social video eavesdroppers intent on exposing our indulgences and social transgressions.

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