Google Glass is an interesting product; it’s an example of a wearable technology consisting of an optical head mounted display powered by a dual core processor with 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, a 2,100 mAh battery. It transmits sound to the wearer by a Bone conduction transducer and has a number of different sensors including a microphone, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, light and proximity sensors plus a touchpad. It can be used for a number of different things including navigation but is finding something of a niche when it comes to training and instruction, especially within medical circles: applications that use the augmented reality functionality to assist doctors during medical procedures have been and are being developed. However, Glass’ ability to easily and potentially stealthily record video and take pictures is giving the product something of a bad name.
And so I’ll get on to the point of this article, which is that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) have updated their joint policy to make it clear that wearables must be turned off and put away when watching a movie in the theater. This announcement comes at an industry event in Florida but should come as no surprise given how hostile some industries have been with Google Glass. No matter where you sit on the Glass is Evil / Glass is Good camp, given how easily it would be to record a movie using Google Glass, this is a sensible policy move from the MPAA and NATO organisations, although if one has Google Glass installed onto prescription lenses, it does mean that we’ll need to bring another set of glasses with us.
The joint statement claims that both groups have “a long history of welcoming technological advances” and that this clause is to prevent recording devices in the theater given their zero-tolerance policy toward using any potential recording devices in the theater. That sounds like the companies are trying not to victimize Google Glass or similar wearers, but it’s ultimately going to get in the way of mass adoption of the ubiquitous head-mounted computer. I suspect that societies’ mindset is going to trail the technology for some years to come.