The highly-anticipated Google Glass product will, if it lives up to the hype, be a groundbreaking device that manages to merge the real and digital worlds into one simple interface, but for that reason it could become illegal, if a legislator in America gets his way.
Gary G. Howell, a ‘Legislature Republican’ from the US state of West Virginia, is campaigning a bill that would prohibit drivers from wearing any”wearable computer with head mounted display”, whilst operating a vehicle, with the belief that it would cause a mobile phone-style distraction to motorists.
He notes that the state has a duty to protect their citizens on the road, and as such would hope that the Android-powered Glass is considered in the same vein as using a phone, despite the former being hands-free and potentially including live driving information (including traffic reports and directions).
Howell defended the product itself, but warned of its possible dangers in the wrong hands, stating: “I actually like the idea of the product and I believe it is the future, but last legislature we worked long and hard on a no-texting-and-driving law. It is mostly the young that are the tech-savvy that try new things. They are also our most vulnerable and underskilled drivers. We heard of many crashes caused by texting and driving, most involving our youngest drivers. I see the Google Glass as an extension.”
Believed to be scheduled for a $1,500 release by the end of 2013, Google Glass has all the ingredients and capability to become a popular (if expensive) product, but will they have a fix for their HUD to manage safer and even higher-quality car travel? Like many debates there will be strong views from either side, but for now at least the product as ‘roadworthy’, though if Howell’s motion gains enough support you might need to take yours off once you cross into West Virginia…