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Updated Apr 25, 2013 - 1:38 pm

Yuma grandmother gets chosen for Google Glass

YUMA, Ariz. — A very tech savvy Yuma grandma has been chosen as
one of the few to test the Google Glass Explorer Edition as part of the
company’s Glass Explorer Program.

Trudy Schuett, a reporter for KAWC 88.9 FM, has been given permission from
Google to purchase the small wearable computer, which shows information to the
user through a head-mounted display. The device will cost about $1,500.

It is being developed by Google as part of the Project Glass research and
development project.

“I am really excited — really stoked,” she told the Yuma Sun recently, adding
“it is a great opportunity” to introduce Google to Yuma.

Schuett, who grew up in suburban Detroit, is versatile when it comes to modern computing technology.

“It all depends on how you grew up,” she said. “When I was in high school I
dated the computer geeks. There were computer geeks in the ’60s.”

Schuett, along with the other explorers who have been given permission to
purchase the Google Glass Explorer Edition, must attend a Google Glass event in
New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles to pick up the device. The date of the
events has not yet been announced by Google.

Schuett has decided to attend the event in San Francisco since Google is
headquartered in the Bay Area.

“I have to get to San Francisco,” she said. “You may as well be at the
heart.”

Schuett is one of only three people in Arizona she knows of who will receive
the new technology during the public testing phase.

Google Glass looks like a pair of glasses without lenses and displays
information on the HMD using a hands-free, voice activated format. Google is
currently working on models that can be used with prescription lenses, but those
will not be ready for the Explorer Edition of Glass. However, it does have an
interchangeable sunglasses accessory which twists on or off.

The Explorer Edition can interact with the Internet, and is equipped with GPS.
The gadget receives data through WiFi, or it can be tethered via Bluetooth to
an Android device or iPhone to use 3G or 4G data.

Google Glass is designed to work with existing Google apps including Google
Maps, and will also be able to display the weather. It also has the ability to
take photos and record 720p HD video, and even broadcast those images live.

To be chosen to participate in the Glass Explorer Program, Schuett was required
to post a message on Google+ or Twitter consisting of 50 words or less detailing
what she would do with the gadget.

Schuett Tweeted she would use the device to “see if I could make it work for
people with Alzheimer’s, memory issues or other kinds of disabilities,” she
said. “I think they liked my project.”

Google Glass may have the potential to remind Alzheimer’s patients who they are
talking to if they forget, Schuett noted.

“I have heard some scuttlebutt about the apps, and there is one that is kind
of a facial recognition.”

According to Schuett, in theory an Alzheimer’s patient could take a picture of
their family members, neighbors and friends, tag it with identifying
information, and store it on their device. Then using the facial recognition
app, all they would have to do is look at somebody and ask Google Glass who they
are looking at. If the person has previously been recorded, the app would then
provide a description to remind the patient who they are seeing.

The GPS enabled device “is actually a very good idea, particularly for
Alzheimer’s sufferers who may have the tendency to wander,” Schuett added. “If
they are out somewhere, maybe they can look at a street sign and say, ‘OK Glass
where am I? How do I get home?'”

The device may also be beneficial to “people with arthritic fingers that can’t
make their fingers go where they want them to,” Schuett said. “It is hands
free — you talk to it.”

Schuett will seek volunteer subjects to test the device once she receives it.

“Because I am a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging, and I
chair the Regional Council on Aging (for Western Arizona), I have all sorts of
resources and people I can ask to be involved,” she said, adding she will
detail her findings online to share with other interested parties.

“My intention is to establish a website with a blog or a wiki, or some way of
communicating with a group of people that are interested, and I will be taking
suggestions from people” including Alzheimer’s doctors and caregivers and those
with memory issues.

Schuett acknowledged the Explorer Edition of Google Glass is
expensive. She is in the process of raising the funding necessary to
purchase the device.

“That is why I’ve got my Indiegogo project,” she said. “That is a
crowdsourcing platform. It is where people with various projects who want
funding for an invention raise the money. You put it online and you raise money
from wherever.”

She is also looking for corporate or business sponsorships, and said she will
wear a uniform similar to NASCAR drivers covered with the logos of those who
sponsor her during Google Glass events.

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