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5 Weird-But-Fun Ways to Use Google Glass

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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.

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IKEA’s New Augmented Reality App Lets You Test Out Virtual Furniture in Your Home
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No matter how much measuring and research you do beforehand, buying a piece of furniture without knowing what it will look like in your home is always a gamble. With its new augmented reality app, IKEA hopes to take some of the guesswork out of the process. IKEA Place features more than 2000 items in the Swedish retailer's inventory, and visualizing them in the space where you live is as easy as tapping a button.

As WIRED reports, IKEA Place is among the first apps to take advantage of Apple's ARKit, an augmented reality platform that debuted as part of iOS 11. iPhone and iPad owners with the latest update can download IKEA's new app for free and start browsing through home goods right away.

To use the tool, you must first select the product you wish to test out, whether it's a loveseat, a kitchen table, or a dresser. Then, with the camera activated, you can point your device at whichever space you want the item to fill and watch it appear on the screen in front of you.

According to IKEA, the 3D models are scaled with 98 percent accuracy. Factors that are hard to analyze from photos online, like shadows, lighting, and textures, are also depicted as they would appear in real life. So if a sofa that looks great under the lights of a store looks drab in your living room, or if a desk that seems tiny online doesn't fit inside your office, the app will let you know. It's the closest you can get to seeing how a piece of furniture complements a room without lugging it through the doorway.

IKEA isn't the first company to improve interior design with computerized images. Several hardware stores and furniture outlets offer their own AR apps. Other services like Modsy let customers pay to create full virtual models of their homes before populating them with 3D furniture. Even IKEA had a basic AR app prior to this one, but it was glitchy and not always accurate. This newest iteration aims to provide a more seamless shopping experience. And with the latest iOS update placing a greater emphasis on AR, you can expect to see more apps using the technology in the near future.

[h/t WIRED]

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Alex Wong/Getty Images
The Library of Congress Wants Your Help Identifying World War I-Era Political Cartoons
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Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. government’s official library wants your help. And it involves cartoons.

The Library of Congress just debuted its new digital innovation lab, an initiative that aims to improve upon its massive archives and use them in creative ways. Its first project is Beyond Words, a digitization effort designed to make the research library’s historical newspaper collection more search-friendly. It aims to classify and tag historical images from World War I-era newspapers, identifying political cartoons, comics, illustrations, and photos within old news archives. The images come from newspapers included in Chronicling America, the library’s existing newspaper digitization project.

The tasks involved in Beyond Words are simple, even if you know nothing about the illustrations involved going into it. The Library of Congress just needs people to help mark all the illustrations and cartoons in the scanned newspaper pages, a task that only involves drawing boxes to differentiate the image from the articles around it.

Then there’s transcription, involving typing in the title of the image, the caption, the author, and whether it’s an editorial cartoon, an illustration, a photo, a map, or a comic. The library also needs people to verify the work of others, since it’s a crowd-sourced effort—you just need to make sure the images have been transcribed consistently and accurately.

A pop-up window below an early 20th century newspaper illustration prompts the user to pick the most accurate caption.

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The data will eventually be available for download by researchers, and you can explore the already-transcribed images on the Beyond Words site. Everything is in the public domain, so you can remix and use it however you want.

With the new, “we are inviting explorers to help crack open digital discoveries and share the collections in new and innovative ways,” Carla Hayden, the library’s head, said in a press release.

Other government archives regularly look to ordinary people to help with the monstrous task of digitizing and categorizing their collections. The National Archives and Records Administration, for instance, has recently crowd-sourced data entry and transcription for vintage photos of life on Native American reservations and declassified government documents to help make their collections more accessible online.

Want to contribute to the Library of Congress’s latest effort? Visit


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