TCU professor explores Google Glass


    If you see professor Chip Stewart walking around campus with an eye contraption, know that he is an explorer.

    Stewart, a professor in the Schieffer School of Journalism and Strategic Communication, is a guinea pig for Google’s new technology called Glass.

    Labeled as the company’s new advancement in “wearable computing,” Glass allows you to record video, take pictures, access e-mails and search the web hands-free via the sound of a person's voice.

    It does all of this while resting just above the right eye.

    The headpiece looks like a set of glasses without lenses and there is a camera mounted onto the computer screen attached to the right stem. In addition to being able to display websites, there is a tiny speaker that uses the skull to transfer sound that sits on the back of the right ear, allowing users to read e-mails, tweets and news articles.

    Stewart was one of 10,000 people selected to participate in the Glass Explorer program. He said he has been using this opportunity to experiment and determine different ways Glass can be useful in the academic world as well as for personal use.

    “The idea of the program is to get it out in the hands of people who can maybe do something with it and find new uses for it…I said I could use it for journalism,” he said, "I think the hands-free computing and recording aspect of it has a lot of potential use, particularly for journalists.”

    Stewart said he has encountered some problems with the new technology, including finding places where he’s comfortable wearing them.

    “I think part of the [Glass] Explorer program is to get people more comfortable with the idea that they’re out there,” he said. “I try to wear them places where I think people would be comfortable with them.”

    New technology always has kinks that need to be worked out, and Glass is no different, Stewart said.

    “I keep trying to get people to think of it as iPhone One," he said. "It’s awesome technology, but it’s also new technology, so the battery life isn’t very long…and the voice recording is good, but not perfect.”

    Despite the glitches, there is some "brilliant" technology in Glass and Stewart said he's not sure what is the best part.

    “We’re still figuring [what the best part is] out. I wish we could get 20 more and get students using them. I hope that this leads to a chance to bring in funding for more devices,” he said.

    Stewart and a fellow journalism professor at Lehigh University, Jeremy Littau, launched a blog site for Glass called Glass Journalism that reflects on their personal experiences with the product and shares these experiences with the world.

    Stewart said he hopes to use Glass during TCU’s football season to see what students can capture with it, how good the quality is and how journalists can use it to help with news coverage. 

    This story was updated on Monday, September 9, 2013 at 4:21 p.m.