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Interview GlassFit developer Noble Ackerson on Google Glass

first_imgGoogle’s Glass is well into its 10,000 user beta test, with people of all walks of life wandering the globe and trying out this incredible wearable technology. For mobile developers, Glass has created great promise but also new challenges that must be overcome. Recently I spoke to one dev who took on those obstacles in order to create his exercise app, GlassFit.Noble Ackerson is an Alexandria, VA-based developer who works with Silica Labs as their VP of Product Development. This position is the direct result of Ackerson’s headfirst dive into the Glass ecosystem. After starting the thousands-strong Society of Glass Enthusiasts community, Ackerson went on to create the GlassFit app. Currently available to any Glass user willing to install unofficial Glassware, Noble’s app acts as a virtual fitness coach that walks you through a series of exercises without ever needing to interact with your phone or with Glass during the workout.Noble’s app is in the very early stages, but even in its current form managed to overcome some of the limitations in Google’s Mirror API to deliver a unique experience.Recently I was able to chat with Noble about his experience so far with GlassFit. Part of the problem, as Noble explained to Geek.com, was that Glass isn’t on all the time. Unless you are using the camera, the display shuts itself off after 10 seconds of inactivity. Having to tap glass every time you wanted to see the next movement or to see the time remaining on your existing workout would be particularly disruptive. Noble explained that his goal was to balance information delivery with activity so the user could go through an entire workout with as few interruptions as possible.To accomplish this, GlassFit breaks the workout into individual steps that are sent to the headset as notifications. GlassFit will give you a workout that is set to a suggested time frame, and when that time expires you’ll get a new notification with a new set of instructions. The notification comes as a chime that only the wearer can feel, thanks to the bone conduction speaker in Glass.At this point you can either switch to the next workout in the lineup if they are familiar with it, or look up to activate the screen and see the next exercise. At the end of the exercise you are shown a victory screen, and the notifications from the app fade into your Glass timeline.Noble’s goals with GlassFit are significant, limited only by his imagination. Long term he noted that he’d like to integrate the app with other wearable exercise tools to help collect data and measure progress. Unlike some, Ackerson doesn’t see Google’s Mirror API as a limitation, rather an exercise in problem solving. If a GlassFit circuit depletes a noticeable portion of your battery, the app will limit your ability to go through an entire day wearing the tech, so his interests lie in users being able to integrate apps into their life, not to work around the app.Many Glass developers are quite excited by the announcement at the Google’s I/O developer conference this year regarding the Glass Development Kit. When asked, Ackerson commented that the GDK is certainly interesting but in the short term he was more interested in some of the features that were announced in the last update to the Glass OS. Specifically, the new layout for voice activated commands that show up when you’ve taken a photo or received certain notifications. This feature allows you to continue to interact with certain parts of Glass in a hands free environment, which would obviously be something he would want to use in GlassFit.last_img read more