Conversation with Prof. Misra on the IITK-VT Partnership

I had the pleasure of spending today with Prof. Sudhir Misra (Co-PI of the IITK-VT Partnership), during which we held a number of meetings with senior faculty at Virginia Tech focused on the future activities of the IITK-VT Partnership. Prof. Misra also provided a guest lecture in the graduate course on Advanced Urban Infrastructure Planning (UAP5854) – the first course at VT to be associated with the IITK-VT partnership. In between these events, we were able to find ten minutes during which I asked Prof. Misra several questions about what the IITK-VT partnership has accomplished and where we plan to take the partnership in the future. The video below captures our conversation that I recorded using Google Glass and edited in Camtasia.

Using Glass at VT

In the video below, Brian Mathews and I provide some insight into how faculty and students are using Google Glass at Virginia Tech.

[Acknowledgments: I’d like to thank Carlos Waters for his help in editing the above video. I’d also like to thank Virginia Tech’s Networked Learning Initiatives and InnovationSpace for the resources they have made available for members of the VT Glass team.]

For additional information on how faculty and students are using Glass at Virginia Tech, see the recently published Tech Teams White Paper.


Developing Glass Videos

This past week, I enjoyed working with Carlos Waters (VT InnovationSpace), Shelli Fowler (Director, Networked Learning Initiatives – NLI), and Jacques Walker (NLI) on developing the outline for several videos that will document how I’m using Glass to advance learning in my courses. I will post these videos as soon as they are ready for distribution. 


#IfihadglassVT Competition

IMG_20130805_115543_693The VT Glass Explorer Team recently received a number of invitations to invite new people to join the Google Glass Explorer program. We have at least nine invitations available and will offer them to the best response we read to the hashtag #IfihadglassVT 

This competition is open to all VT students, faculty, and staff. To be considered for one of the invitations, you need to post your #IfihadglassVT response to Twitter or Google+ by 12pm on Friday, March 7. If selected, you will be responsible for covering the cost of the Glass device ($1,500 + tax and shipping).

If you are a VT student, I encourage you to “pitch” your Glass-related research ideas to your advisor with the objective of securing research funds to cover the cost of the device  😉

We look forward to growing the VT Glass Team and seeing how you would Invent the Future!

New Google+ WASH Community

This semester I’m going to use a Google+ community to support my course on Water Supply and Sanitation in Developing Countries. Whereas the community I created last semester for my sustainability seminar was private, this WASH (water, sanitation, and health) community will be open for anyone to join.


My transition to using Google Apps is fueled by my interest in using Google Glass in education. While the VT Glass Team is still working on an App that I can use during my class (more to come on this), I have had some initial success in recording assignment-feedback videos for students. This semester I have teamed up with Mary English in VT’s Network Learning Initiatives, to formally evaluate my video feedback process. I am aware that there are many ways in which video feedback could be provided, but the Google Apps and Glass platform does make the process easy and therefore doable. I also believe that this use of Glass is one area where the device can add real value in an educational setting.

Since the assignment-feedback videos are privately shared with each student (via their Google+ account), they will not be available on the Google+ WASH community. However, I plan to post videos that discuss new WASH material that will be of interest to my students. These videos will provide a sense of how the assignment-feedback videos work in practice. I will share the results from our formal evaluation of this application of Glass as soon as they are available.

Prescription Lenses for Google Glass

5After a couple of months of searching, Dr. Steve Jacobs and I found a way to create a pair of prescription lenses for my Google Glass device. The final product has a kind of industrial edge to it that I rather like. The clip-on lenses match the curvature of the frame, so they look great. This is also the first time I have had a pair of wraparound lenses, so I have improved peripheral vision while wearing them. The first couple of times I wore them, it did take a little while for my eyes to adjust to the optics of the lenses, but this was not a major issue. Since I was not happy with the various contact lenses I tried, I was wearing Glass over my normal prescription frames. This was slightly uncomfortable and meant I did not always have a complete view of the Glass prism. Since the new clip-on lenses firmly clip into the frame, there is no movement to distort the image.

7The clip-on lenses are also smaller than the lenses that came with the Glass device, which makes a big difference in their appearance. See the image below.9

JosephThe lenses were made by Joseph Haloua (left) in State College, PA. They are made from a military grade material called Trivex (which can be changed if your RX warrants it) that is almost as clear as optical glass. The material is ballistic which makes it very robust and perfect for drilling. A high quality antireflective treatment is added to the lenses to render the shield more scratch resistant than optical glass. UV protection is also included. The finished lenses come with a two-year warranty against accidental scratches.

Joseph is currently developing other shapes and progressive lenses to give people who need bifocals the usage of their Glass. Each of the clip-on lenses is unique, which is why the price ranges from $500 to $600. What I like most about what Joseph is doing is that he’s taken on the challenge that so many others did not. While prescription frames will become available from Rochester Optical in 2014, these frames will be missing that rogue edge. If you can wait until 2014, you may be able to purchase a new frame for Glass with prescription lenses for less than $500. However, if you are searching for an immediate solution, a pair of custom clip-on lenses is something to consider. I think Joseph would do what he can to accommodate your preferences in terms of treatments such as Transition(TM), prescription sunglasses (tinted or polarized), etc.

If you are interested in obtaining a pair of clip-on lenses, the process takes about two weeks from the time your clear shield is received. The clip-on lenses can be shipped globally if needed. When you contact Joseph (information below), you will need to provide him with your prescription and the distance between your eyes.

I collected my new lenses last week during Dr. Jacobs’ Annual Trunk Show and Local Charity Fundraiser. I have included a few pictures from the event below. I have also included a video in which Dr. Jacobs says a few words about the lenses.

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Moss Arts Center – Open House

3This afternoon, I wore my Google Glass device to the open house for VT’s new, and I must say rather amazing, Moss Arts Center. The 150,000-square-foot facility is designed to bring creativity, art, and technology together under one roof. The facility has a 1,260-seat performance hall, visual arts galleries, amphitheater, four-story experimental Cube, and multiple studios. The potential of this facility is immense and I’m already thinking about one or two new collaborations in the area of policy informatics that such a facility will enable.

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While walking around the open house, I had the opportunity to speak with Ben Knapp, the Director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT). Ben was one of three colleagues who I recently invited to join the VT Google Glass team. The team now consists of Peter Sforza, Brian Mathews, Tom Sanchez, Troy Abel, Ico Bukvic, Ben Knapp, and myself. [If the Glass XE team is reading this post, I have another three colleagues waiting in the wings to join our growing team of explorers 😉 One of these individuals is shown in the second video below.] While talking with Ben, we discussed how his research into the study of human emotion could be linked to my use of Glass in the classroom. There is a ‘hint’ of this new Glass application in the video below. With the addition of an Android/Glass programmer to our team in the near future, I’m keen to see how we can turn this idea/concept into a testable platform.

I first came across Google Glass while undertaking a New Media seminar at Virginia Tech. One of the great things about the seminar was getting to know faculty from across the university. One of my fellow seminarians was Joycelyn Wilson, who I also met during the open house. I asked Joycelyn to say a few words about her digital archiving project in which she is working to document over 4,000 vinyl records among other music-related items. During the video below, I asked Joycelyn how she would use Glass if I were given an additional three Glass invitations.