by Garrett C. Hill, X2nSat CEO
The king of simple one-liner jokes, Henny Youngman, once said, “My grandmother is over 80 and still doesn’t need glasses. Drinks right out of the bottle.”
I wouldn’t purport to be as crass as granny when served a cocktail – I’m a gentleman of means and civility and therefore always use a glass when imbibing anything other than a bottled beer or a swig of Kentucky moonshine. Also, I’ve begun using glasses of another sort recently – the kind with a capital “G” and a controversial reputation.
Avoiding making the obvious connection between those two listed traits and myself, I’m excited to talk about a very cool event that we here at X2nSat recently co-hosted with our friends at Google Glass – a special event we titled “Glass & Satellites” held in June at the Google Glass Basecamp on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Check out the photos from the event on our Facebook page.
Google Glass has three “base camps” – one in New York, one in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco – at which they showcase and demo their Glass product by appointment or to a select group of Glass Explorers via invitation. As an engineer and leader in the world of technology and science, I was invited several months ago to demo and purchase my own pair of Glasses. As a result of that event, my company was asked to partner with Glass staff to host a unique networking session.
If you haven’t heard of them, Glass Explorers are basically early adopters and fans of Google Glass. According to Google, they’re “the first to make, to tinker, to create, to shape and to share through Glass.” To our event in June, we invited two very different groups to come together. The idea was to listen to me explain the satellite communications industry in simple terms via a short presentation and for everyone to then have the opportunity to demo a pair of Google Glasses and discuss possible applications for Glass in the satellite industry.
Explorers who knew very little about satellite communications and invited partners and friends of X2nSat who knew very little about Google Glass. The idea was to gather these two groups together to network and brainstorm new ways in which Google Glass and similar technology could fuel ideas for new applications in the satellite world.
As we all sipped wine and noshed on appetizers courtesy of Google and served by lovely staff wearing Glasses, we enjoyed the view of the Bay Bridge offered by the Base Camp facility and talked about the ways this new spin on technology – wearable computers – could be utilized.
Some ideas for usage included: Out in the field as installers work in remote locations and need access to blueprints and project files hands-free, in disaster recovery situations such as when firefighters need to respond in visually challenging situations, for business continuity solutions, and many other opportunities we’re all just beginning to see – no pun intended.
Glass has had mixed reviews from wearers and from the general public, and its fair share of controversial media coverage: from Glass-recorded bar fights to accusations of Glass wearers stealing passwords with newly developed software that maps shadows from your fingertips as you type (definitely not the kind of ingenuity we’re pursuing here at X2nSat). But any new technology – especially a technology that creates a paradigm shift – is going to have its bumps and barriers on the road to acceptance. And it’s possible Glass is just the first incarnation of something that hasn’t fully evolved yet.
While we didn’t change the world that night in June as we partnered with Google Glass to share ideas and enjoy the view, we did spark the engine of innovation and make some tangible connections. Not everyone at X2nSat owns a pair of Glasses, but I’ve had a blast playing with mine and envisioning ways we can stimulate creative solutions in the satellite industry.
IMAGE CREDIT: The Moonshine Man of Kentucky, illustration from Harper’s Weekly, 1877, showing five scenes from the life of a Kentucky moonshiner. “The Moonshine Man of Kentucky,” showing five scenes of the moonshining life, including a man chopping down a tree, a man mixing ingredients, a moonshiner held captive by 3 men, 3 men on horseback begging for breakfast from framer; and a boy holding a jug by the still house. Courtesy of the Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.