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'Glass' may break drivers' concentration behind the wheel

If you think the commercials linking clips of different characters communicating with people through “futuristic” watch phones, it is interesting to think about how Google’s Glass will be introduced to the world. For the uninitiated, Glass is the smartphone display and camera that is mounted on a pair of eyeglasses, and changes the use and experience of a cell phone (or computer for that matter).

Through Glass, users can conduct video chats, check email and get turn-by-turn directions without looking down at a display screen. However, a user’s eyes can be taken from one focus point to another, and a person cannot physically focus on two different objects at once. 

This is the concern of many safety advocates as Glass approaches its release in 2014. In fact, it is rumored that Chevrolet is considering a deal where buyers could get a free Glass with their purchase of certain vehicles. According to a recent AdAge.com report, Chevy’s CMO Tim Mahoney was impressed with Glass’ capabilities, and hinted at a potential partnership.

Meanwhile, there is a building argument as to whether Glass will make driving safer or more dangerous. On the one hand, drivers could better keep their eyes on the road instead of looking down at a display screen or a cell phone as they take directions or monitor road conditions. On the other hand, adding another level of cognitive distraction cannot be good given the eye’s inability to focus on two objects at once.

It remains to be seen how Glass is ultimately going to be used (if at all) by drivers, but the safety concerns are real.

Source: AdAge.com, Do Chevy execs see a future with Google Glass?, October 6, 2013

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