Google Glass may someday fire up your coffee maker

Google applies for tech patent that would allow Glass to control home alarms, doors or copy machines

Google envisions a future when your computerized glasses will turn on your coffee maker even before you roll out of bed.

Google on Thursday filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for technology that enables Google Glass to control everyday devices, such as a garage door opener, a refrigerator with a control interface, a home alarm system or a copy machine.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin dons the company's Glass digital eyewear. (Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters )

So, someday, Google Glass might just fire up your coffee maker, if Google sees its vision through.

"A wearable computing device may facilitate the wearer's operation of or understanding of a particular device," the company wrote in the application. "The target device could be any electrical, optical, or mechanical device."

The patent application also notes that Google Glass could enable the user to provide input, for example, to an outdoor lighting system, or receive instructions on how to operate the system or a status update from the system itself.

Google Glass, which is still in the development stage, are computerized glasses that enable users to take photos, shoot video, pull up maps, and share images and information on social networks. A transparent interface over the right eye shows options, and the device is manipulated using voice control, gestures and touch.

At the South by South West (SXSW) conference in Texas earlier this month, Google showed how Glass can use apps, such as one for the New York Times, as well as Skitch, a free app that acts as a collaboration tool that enables users to mark up images with arrows, shapes and text.

Timothy Jordan, a senior developer advocate at Google, demonstrated Glass at the conference, and showed a large audience how he could use Glass to send email, take photos, post updates to Google+ and hear a language translation.

Several weeks ago, Google issued a call for people to apply to be part of a group of a few thousand who will initially test Glass. Called "explorers," the testers were asked to tell Google how they would use the technology. The application deadline has passed but Google hasn't yet said when the first round of explorers will be chosen.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Read more about personal technology in Computerworld's Personal Technology Topic Center.

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