Google Glass and Hacking Toys

My district offered a Makerspace professional development session this summer. I was wildly excited about this day long experience, because I am passionate about the Maker Movement. But I was extra excited, because I knew this would be a great day to take Glass for an ultimate test drive.

The instructor began our day by providing us some supplies: a pager motor, a watch battery, and a toothbrush. With these tools he asked us to create a “toothbrush bot.” We had fun (because adults are worse than kids with wire cutters and work tools) attaching the wires and cutting the brushes. It was just silly enough to break teachers out of their comfort zone. I used Glass to capture some of the project’s moments, which can be viewed below. While creating video, I found myself facing another Glass challenge: How exactly do I hold my head so I capture the right shot? My first video from the day was a nightmare. I basically recorded my foot (which is why that video is not posted… feet are gross), because I missed judged the center of the Glass view. After some shifting, my remaining videos improved greatly.


All of that was well and good, but my amazement with Glass (and with this session) centered around hacking a toy. The instructor brought a bin of toys collected from discount bins and allowed us to choose one for our experiments. I believe I chose the most annoying option, and I fully enjoyed disassembling it.

We were asked to pay close attention to what made the toy work. So, like good students, we observed the simple machines, circuits, etc. inside the toy. The instructor also reminded us that eventually we would need to put parts of the toy back together to create something of our own.


I am sure that my colleagues did their best to remember which parts went where and were connected to what, but I cheated. Every few seconds, I asked Glass to take a picture. Through a stream of approximately 25 images, I fully documented the inner workings of my toy. During my reassemble I was able to scroll back through the images and put everything back where it belonged. Obviously, there are other tools we could use to accomplish this task. However, my hands were free. I did not need to have cameras and computers cluttering my work space, or an extra person to snap the images. Plus looking back and forth between the image and my work could not have been easier. My one complaint centers on Glass’s sleep timing. I believe I mentioned before that Glass turns off quickly, so it is out of the way when you are not using it. However, if I needed to check an image again, I would need to wake Glass and navigate back to the image. Unlike a computer which wakes up to the screen you were last using, Glass always defaults to the home screen.

I am more anxious than ever to get Glass on our students. Hopefully after the first week of school teachers will be ready to experiment.

Anything you are dying to see Glass do? I am always open to ideas!

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