Google Glass: the good and the bad

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What is Google Glass?

Google Glass is an experimental piece of wearable tech that was developed by Google, under their experimental tech division Google X.

The project was unveiled in April 2012 through a Google+ post, and later that month Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, wore a prototype onstage at the Foundation Fighting Blindness event in San Francisco.



Google Glass launches

After being made available to Google I/O developers in 2013, Google encouraged people to tweet #IfIHadGlass to qualify for the chance to be an early user of the product. Those who did qualify, around 8,000 people, were dubbed ‘Glass Explorers’.

The Glass Explorers were then invited to visit a Google office in either Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco to have their units ‘fitted’ and receive training on how to use Glass.

Google Glass racked up many awards. In 2012 it was recognised by Time Magazine as one of the “Best Inventions of the Year”, along with other technological inventions such as the Curiosity Rover.



What went wrong with Google Glass?

However, Google Glass was constantly plagued by problems. It allows you to record video and take photos without anyone noticing and one app, Wink, allowed you to take a picture just by winking. This caused many worries about personal privacy, as well as the ethical concerns and etiquette when using Glass in public.

It was for this reason that Glass was banned in countries including Ukraine and Russia. In 2013, one Glass Explorer noticed legal issues around Glass, stating that it may be illegal to use in these countries because of a law that prohibits the use of spy gadgets that can record video, audio or take photographs in an inconspicuous manner.

google glass logo



These privacy concerns also extended to the general public and, in one case, a Glass Explorer was verbally and physically assaulted at a bar in San Francisco. It was claimed that the patrons of the bar were upset about the fact that they may possibly be being recorded.

On January 15th 2015, Google released a statement saying that they were going to stop producing Google Glass prototypes. They added, however, that they were committed to the development of the product. In February 2015, The New York Times reported that Google Glass was being redesigned by former Apple executive Tony Fadell and it would not be released until he was convinced that the product was ‘perfect’.

Why all businesses should have a ‘social soul’

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At Adlens, we have always been driven by our ‘social soul’ – the desire to use our technology to help those in need and transform vision across the world. We recognise that we have a unique technology that could help people in less developed parts of the world, so we choose to share that technology with them. Our founder, James Chen, deeply believes in the incredible importance of a social soul and this has distilled into the core values of Adlens.

All businesses are in a position to be able to help those in need, whether it be through the sharing of professional or personal skills or lending bodies to a particular project, such as clearing away debris from a site, or helping to construct something. Many businesses offer holiday days for their employees who want to help a charity in their spare time.

Adlens believe it is incredibly important for businesses to recognise the good that they can do for those who desperately need help.. We want to be known for our work with those who need it the most, helping communities to help themselves and creating a sustainable future for them.

Adlens currently works with the charity Vision for a Nation, who seek to provide universal access to eyeglasses and eye care. They currently operate in Rwanda to support the integration of eye care into primary health services, giving Rwandans access to vision assessments and eyewear if needed.

Businesses have the ability to lead the way in supporting those who need help.  We are proud to have this duty embedded in our core as we move forward with our mission to transform vision across the world.

Digital eye strain: what you need to know

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Computers are essential to our everyday life. Between sending emails at work, making sure your Instagram is up to date and checking your Facebook at home, and ordering your shopping online, we spend a lot of our day in front of a screen But all of this time spent staring at our computers, including our tablets and smartphones, inevitably takes its toll on our eyes and will more often than not lead to a condition known as digital eye strain.

Here, we give you the facts about digital eye strain, and how to minimize its effects.

What is digital eyestrain?

As the name suggests, digital eye strain is the physical discomfort felt in your eyes that is usually experienced after looking at a digital screen for more than two hours at a close to mid-range distance.

Symptoms can be diverse and varied, but typically digital eye strain will present itself in much the same way as eye fatigue.

So if you suddenly find that your eyes are very dry or very watery, or they have become more sensitive to light after a couple of hours in front of a screen, the chances are that they’re feeling the strain.


What causes digital eye strain?

Digital eye strain has a number of different causes but one of the most problematic is the blue light emitted from the screens of computers.

This blue light can penetrate further than other wavelengths all the way to the back of the eye. Therefore, as well as causing headaches and eye fatigue, blue light can damage the retina which has been linked to to the development of eye diseases including macular degeneration.

How can I protect myself against it?

Fortunately, there are a number of different ways that you can help minimize the effects of digital eye strain.

Many are simple, like implementing the 20-20-20 rule, but these can take time to form into habits and do not offer your retina any protection.

So the best way to fully combat digital eye strain is to invest in a pair of glasses that are designed to help reduce the amount of blue light that makes its way into your eyes.


Top wearable gadgets for baby boomers

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Baby boomers are not a generation that is new to technology – they saw the invention of the radio and the television! In fact, as they get older, they (quite rightly) want to see the latest technological advances tailored towards their needs.

Fortunately, such technology is in ready supply!

Here we list our top 3 picks for wearable gadgets for baby boomers.

1. Automated medicine caps

How many of us have forgotten to take our prescription medication in the past?

With 1 in 10 hospital admissions for seniors being the result of medication errors, a daily reminder could definitely help us make sure we’re not skipping a dose.

These automated medicine caps are easy little caps that clip onto the top of standard prescription bottles. They use light and sound reminders to help us remember to take our meds and if you don’t notice that, they can also call or text us, so that we definitely don’t miss a dose!

2. Adjustable eyewear

A must in any list of the best wearable tech for baby boomers, adjustable eyewear are perhaps one of the most innovative pieces of wearable tech on the market.

OK, we’re probably a little biased here but that believe adjustable eyewear is a fantastic piece of wearable tech for baby boomers.

Using a range of advanced technologies, adjustable eyewear allows the wearer to make adjustments to their prescription quickly and easily This is incredibly useful for people that need to see at near, mid and intermediate distances – instead of multiple pairs of glasses, they can simply match their need at the turn of a dial.


3. Hands-Free Shoes

The premise of this is very simple- as the name suggests, hands-free shoes allow you to easily get in and out of your shoes, without the need to bend over or use your hands.

This seems silly initially, but those of us who have trouble bending over thanks to a dodgy hip, or a flare up of back pain, will know what a help this would be.

It works via magnets in the back of the shoe that open up, allowing us to get our foot in. When you press the heel down, the opening closes up, keeping the shoe on. When it’s time to take the shoe off, you simply kick the back of the heel to open the shoe back up, and get your foot free.

The number of older people is expected to double in the next 35 years, so expect more and more tech aimed at baby boomers. This is just the start of the wearable tech revolution.

The different types of eye exams

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There are many different kinds of tests that are performed at eye examinations. But what exactly are these tests, and what do they look for?


Visual acuity test

This is the test we all associate with going to the optometrists. There’s a chart of letters on the far wall that decrease in size as you go on, and you are asked to read the letters one at a time.

Usually, each of your eyes is tested separately. But sometimes, your near-sighted vision is also tested with a hand held version of the chart.

The function of this test is to see how clearly you can read at both near and at a distance.

Refraction test

This is what usually comes after the visual acuity test and is one of the main factors in determining what prescription you need in your glasses.

To start, the doctor or optometrist will use a light to measure the curve of the surface of the eye, either using a computerised refractor, or by shining a light into your eye and measuring the refractive error back through the pupil.

After this initial test, you will have various lenses placed in front of your eye and asked which one is better, in order to determine which combination of lenses gives the sharpest and clearest vision.

Retinal examination

During a retinal examination – which can also be referred to as an ophthalmoscopy – the optometrist will shine a bright beam of light through your pupil, in order to see the back of your eye, using a tool called an ophthalmoscope. This allows your optometrist to evaluate the retina, optic disk and blood vessels at the back of the eye, in order to check for any damage.

Sometimes this part of the examination is carried out in a dark room, in order to better dilate the pupils of the eye, but eye drops can also be used to dilate your eyes.

It’s worth noting that while the exam itself only lasts around 10 minutes, it can take several hours for the eye drops to wear off – and you may experience blurry vision for some time afterwards.

Glaucoma screening

This test is performed more regularly if you have a family history of glaucoma, but it will often be carried out even if you don’t have a family history of the condition – just to be safe!

This test involves checking the fluid pressure inside your eyes, and can be done either with a machine which numbs your eye, or a puff of air to the eyeball. Both allows the doctor to determine the pressure in your eyes, but using the machine (known technically as a tonometer) will give a more accurate reading, and your doctor may decide to use this if glaucoma runs in your family.

There are a lot more tests that doctors or optometrists can or will perform that depend on specific conditions, such as history of diabetes, glaucoma or potential color blindness. The one common element they all share is that they are designed to diagnose and improve your vision – so don’t delay any tests recommended by your optometrist

The history of e-readers

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There aren’t many pleasures in life that are better than curling up with a good book. Once upon a time, this would have meant leafing through your favorite tome page by page, but now it’s a different story.

With an estimated 50% of American adults now owning some form of e-reading device, the days of the physical book would appear to be well and truly numbered.

So here we take a look at the history of the e-reader.

history of e-readers


Once upon a time…

Although many of us didn’t know what an e-reader was until Amazon’s Kindle hit the market back in 2007, the first e-reader was actually brought out nearly ten years prior to this.

These models, such as the NuvoMedia Rocketbook and the EB Dedicated Reader, were years ahead of their time and could perform almost all of the functions we have now come to expect from an e-reader. Albeit on a much smaller scale.

But alas, there was no market for such devices back in the nineties and poor sales, combined with their relatively expensive retail price of $500, many of the models which had pioneered the concept of an e-reader met their demise in 2003.

The e-reader revolution

But all of this began to change in 2006 when tech giants Sony released their Sony Reader.

Not only was this device much lighter than its predecessors, it was also more affordable at around $300.

Of course, all of this changed on November 19th 2007 when Amazon launched their Kindle e-reader, which sold out inside 6 hours.

This encouraged competitors such as Barnes & Noble, Samsung and Apple to develop their own portable readers, essentially ushering in an e-reader revolution of sorts.



The next chapter

With innovations like digital ink and wireless connectivity now standard across many e-readers, it would seem that the e-reader is at a crossroads now, and that the only thing distinguishing one from the other is price.

Indeed, many have begun to invest more heavily in tablet devices to read their books electronically as they offer a wider range of functions than the e-reader.

But while some are rushing to proclaim the death of the e-reader, the platform is anything but dead.

With a greater battery life than many tablets, and no risk of digital eye strain, there are many advantages to owning an e-reader instead of (or even as well as) a tablet device.