google glass
google glass

5 Weird-But-Fun Ways to Use Google Glass

google glass
google glass

When someone wears Google Glass, people notice. The techie glasses show wearers a Head-Up Display (or HUD—the head is not plural) with information about your surroundings like a map. You can also record a short video clip or check your e-mail ... but that’s boring. Here are five less conventional things app developers are allowing Google Glass users to do.

1. Run from zombies

Want a better way to get in shape? Pretend you're being chased by a horde of zombies! The Zombies, Run! app for Google Glass plays highly motivational messages and also tracks your workout distance and time.

2. Play Games with Your Eyes

The craze over the FlappyBird game for smartphones reached epic proportions. Now there's a clone for Google Glass. In the insanely difficult BlinkyBird, you fly a little bird across the screen by blinking twice, trying to avoid pipes that kill the bird instantly. If you want to take an easier (though probably more annoying) route, the developer has built in an option that lets you tap the side of your Glass to flap.

3. Take pictures using your mind

Sometimes, you just need to be a little more focused. If you use the MindRDR app (which requires the Neurosky MindWave Mobile add-on to read electroencephalography pulses from your brain), you can stare off in space with a purpose. When you do, the Glass app snaps a photo. Stare a little more sternly, and the app will then post the image to Facebook.

4. Generate a meme

Tired of seeing memes about kittens? Create your own! Just use the Glass Meme Generator to snap a photo of anything—your dog, a road sign, your spouse. The app allows you to add a caption in the style of, then share the results online.

5. Praise yourself

Are you getting flack for being a glasshole? We feel your pain. Instead of just living with the stigma, do something about it. Use the Glass Praiser app to send yourself a motivational message once per day. You set the time of delivery, and the app sends you a compliment.

Apple Wants to Patent a Keyboard You’re Allowed to Spill Coffee On

In the future, eating and drinking near your computer keyboard might not be such a dangerous game. On March 8, Apple filed a patent application for a keyboard designed to prevent liquids, crumbs, dust, and other “contaminants” from getting inside, Dezeen reports.

Apple has previously filed several patents—including one announced on March 15—surrounding the idea of a keyless keyboard that would work more like a trackpad or a touchscreen, using force-sensitive technology instead of mechanical keys. The new anti-crumb keyboard patent that Apple filed, however, doesn't get into the specifics of how the anti-contamination keyboard would work. It isn’t a patent for a specific product the company is going to debut anytime soon, necessarily, but a patent for a future product the company hopes to develop. So it’s hard to say how this extra-clean keyboard might work—possibly because Apple hasn’t fully figured that out yet. It’s just trying to lay down the legal groundwork for it.

Here’s how the patent describes the techniques the company might use in an anti-contaminant keyboard:

"These mechanisms may include membranes or gaskets that block contaminant ingress, structures such as brushes, wipers, or flaps that block gaps around key caps; funnels, skirts, bands, or other guard structures coupled to key caps that block contaminant ingress into and/or direct containments away from areas under the key caps; bellows that blast contaminants with forced gas out from around the key caps, into cavities in a substrate of the keyboard, and so on; and/or various active or passive mechanisms that drive containments away from the keyboard and/or prevent and/or alleviate containment ingress into and/or through the keyboard."

Thanks to a change in copyright law in 2011, the U.S. now gives ownership of an idea to the person who first files for a patent, not the person with the first working prototype. Apple is especially dogged about applying for patents, filing plenty of patents each year that never amount to much.

Still, they do reveal what the company is focusing on, like foldable phones (the subject of multiple patents in recent years) and even pizza boxes for its corporate cafeteria. Filing a lot of patents allows companies like Apple to claim the rights to intellectual property for technology the company is working on, even when there's no specific invention yet.

As The New York Times explained in 2012, “patent applications often try to encompass every potential aspect of a new technology,” rather than a specific approach. (This allows brands to sue competitors if they come out with something similar, as Apple has done with Samsung, HTC, and other companies over designs the company views as ripping off iPhone technology.)

That means it could be a while before we see a coffee-proof keyboard from Apple, if the company comes out with one at all. But we can dream.

[h/t Dezeen]

Google Adds 'Wheelchair Accessible' Option to Its Transit Maps

Google Maps is more than just a tool for getting from Point A to Point B. The app can highlight the traffic congestion on your route, show you restaurants and attractions nearby, and even estimate how crowded your destination is in real time. But until recently, people who use wheelchairs to get around had to look elsewhere to find routes that fit their needs. Now, Google is changing that: As Mashable reports, the company's Maps app now offers a wheelchair accessible option to users.

Anyone with the latest version of Google Maps can access the new feature. After opening the app, just enter your starting point and destination and select the public transit choices for your trip. Maps will automatically show you the quickest routes, but the stations it suggests aren't necessarily wheelchair accessible.

To narrow down your choices, hit "Options" in the blue bar above the recommended routes then scroll down to the bottom of the page to find "Wheelchair accessible." When that filter is checked, your list of routes will update to only show you bus stops and subways that are also accessible by ramp or elevator where there are stairs.

While it's a step in the right direction, the new accessibility feature isn't a perfect navigation tool for people using wheelchairs. Google Maps may be able to tell you if a station has an elevator, but it won't tell you if that elevator is out of service, an issue that's unfortunately common in major cities.

The wheelchair-accessible option launched in London, New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston, and Sydney on March 15, and Google plans to expand it to more transit systems down the road.

[h/t Mashable]


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