POSTED BY Veronica LaClair on October 18, 2013
It is no surprise to learn that every year within the United States and across the globe new technologies are created and integrated into the very fabric of society. From the development of computers in the 1950’s, to the explosive birth of Apple products within the last twelve years, the evolutionary progress of technology has been spectacular. What is even more impressive then these technologies themselves, is their acceptance and integration into everyday life and within the professional work world. One of the newest technologies to hit pop-culture is Glass, Google Glass.
Let’s start with a simple question: What are Google Glasses? Before this question can be adequately addressed a brief discuss as to some common misconceptions about what Google Glasses are would be extremely helpful. First, Google Glasses are not glasses. Although the housing frame for the technology does resemble a traditional glasses frame, the technology is not a pair of glasses. However, Google is in the works of developing a prescription prototype in which case the technology would double as a pair of glasses. Second, “Google Glasses” is not the official product name. The official product name is “Glass”. It appears that the people who believe the technology is glasses rather than Glass are referring to the technology as “Google Glasses.” Moreover, even those who know what the technology is are still not referring to it as “Glass.” It appears that people are referring to the product as “Google Glass,” in an attempt to associate the product Glass with its creator Google. Once Glass becomes openly available to the public, more common place, and more identifiable as a product of Google, there may be a move towards calling the technology Glass. However, it seems likely that Google Glass with remain the common street name for the technology for the time being.
Now let’s ask that question again: What is Glass? Glass is essentially a micro-computer processor mounted in a wearable head frame. Understanding the structural layout of the product would serve a useful purpose here. Imagine you are wearing a pair of glasses, without any lenses in them. The right arm of the glasses has an approximately three inch long by half inch wide by quarter inch deep box attached. This box is actually a computer processing system, much like what is in a smartphone, only smarter. Extending from this box is a rectangular piece of glass, slightly bigger than an average person’s thumb print, which curves in front of your right eye. This glass rectangle is the screen. From this structure the user is free to see the world around them as they normally would. At the command of wearer the technology can be activated, by touchpad or by voice, to carry out specific commands. “O.K. glass. Take a picture.” Will prompt a picture to be taken through a camera in the frame, in real time, of what the wearer is observing; The same can be done with video. The Glass can be prompted to Google, translate, open documents, find directions, etc. Almost anything a smart phone or personal tablet can do, Glass can do—hands free.
Glass is still in the experimental and trial phase of development, having launched an explorer program in February of 2013. The program called for bold and creative individuals to apply, via a Google+ application of fifty words or less and a fifteen second video, for the chance to sample the technology. One of those bold and creative individuals was Suffolk University Law School’s own Professor Andrew Perlman. Professor Perlman pitched the idea of “Glass in the Class,” and was given the opportunity to sample the technology, receiving his own Glass in June of 2013. As an innovator himself, Professor Perlman is fostering a new generation of attorneys who are both ready to practice law and able to do so in a technologically advanced world. Using the Glass to better interact with and education law students is proving a success. Students are able to text Professor Perlman questions and comments, which then appear on his Glass and can be addressed real time, without any delay in class time. This system allows students to better formulate question before they ask them, ask questions anonymously, and allows Professor Perlman to answer questions when he feels the answers would be most helpful.
Taking Glass into Class is a successful step forward, but is taking Glass outside of the classroom and into a courtroom or within the legal community a viable option? Professor Perlman said one foreseeable option is to use the Glass to aid in depositions. The use of Glass for depositions would allow remote access between parties and recording of the testimony in real time. Using Glass in this way would save time and money, and would prevent a team of people from having to travel to a singular deposition location. Glass in the courtroom might prove more difficult in application. Although Glass is a useful technology, it will most likely “not have a transformative effect, on the way that lawyer’s practice law,” says Professor Perlman. The technology is already out there—smart phones, apple technology, and the likes—which would better serve to improve daily courtroom functioning. The idea that hands free technology in the courtroom would serve as a giant leap forward for litigants is not outweighed by the possible pitfalls of Glass in a courtroom setting. One possible concern would be courtroom privacy regulations. Glass has both the ability to record and stream live, both of which can be done incognito and may serve as possible deterrents from using the technology within a courtroom. Glass technology is “more evolutionary than revolutionary,” with respects to courtroom application claims Professor Perlman.
Since Glass is not commercially available as of now, there is no real way to determine whether or not it will have a future in courtrooms. Legal scholars, such as Professor Perlman, have their experience and expertise to weigh in, but only time and precedent can write the applicable ending to this story. At some point a person with Glass will enter a courtroom and the judge will have to make a decision on how to address the technology and the extent to which it can be used within their courtroom. Until that day the selected few that are able to explore Glass, including Professor Perlman and his Civil Procedure lecture students, will push Glass technology forward.