Rod Serling, the creator of the science-fiction television series called The Twilight Zone stated that “Science fiction is the improbable made possible” (Laureate Education (Producer), 2014i). Today, as a result of digital and communication technologies, reality is approaching science fiction. Clayton Christensen, who proposed the theory of disruptive innovations, opined that disruptive technologies result as a consequence of a force that impacts and redirects the evolutionary path of a technology while obsoleting the prior technology as a result of lower cost, better quality product, and other factors (Laureate Education (Producer), 2014a).
Sultan (2015) points out that disruptive innovations take place less frequently than sustainable innovations and exhibit performance problems when introduced to the market. This happened when Google introduced Google Glass. Google Glass is a head-mounted wearable technology. The pair of glasses is equipped with a portable audiovisual system that consists of a computer, camera and viewing screen that enable the user to engage in videoconferencing via wireless Internet connection (Hashimoto, Phitayakorn, Fernandez-del Castillo, & Meireles, 2016). While consumers marveled over the futuristic appeal of the glasses, the functionality of the wearable computers were deemed rather limiting, consequently the consumer was slow to grasp the concept of this new product because of the introductory cost of $10,000 and a lack of practical use in the consumer market. This innovative device, that was modeled as part of fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg’s Spring 2013 collection (Duerson, 2012), was initially designed for the consumer market for $1,500 a pair (Hern, 2015). Hern points out that the technology mogul relaunched its Google Glass during 2015 for the business community targeting energy, healthcare, and manufacturing industries.
Technology Google Glass Displaced
According to the manufacturer, Google Glass remains in the development phase (Hern, 2015). Google Glass technology, with real-time digital connection and responsiveness, makes digital simulations a technology of the past (Bower & Sturman, 2015). There is a shift from technological tools based on computers that are external to the human system, to tech-tools that become an extension of the human experience. In a Google Glass environment, a surgeon will no longer need to engage in virtual-reality games to obtain s pseudo-surgical experience that is devoid of a an actual human body and takes place in a make-believe surgical scenario (Davis & Rosenfield, 2015). Instead, a surgeon with wearable technology can use voice commands, head positioning, and the sense of touch to record real-time surgical processes through the eyes of the surgeon who is actually performing the surgery on a real person. The recorded surgery can subsequently be passed along to other surgeons as a teaching device. The hands-free, voice-controlled device creates a teaching benefit in the medical realm. Google Glasses which consist of a camera, wireless Internet access, computer functionality, and an audio interface are positioned to obsolete the smartphone in the near future (Pace, 2013). This virtual technology also leads to myriad potential in the health field which includes health monitoring, medical education, and health electronic data. During 2014, Google projected 21 million units of Google Glasses would be sold by 2018 (Rauschnabel, Brem, & Ivens, 2015).
What Comes Next?
The Google moguls have already redirected their client base from an individual to a corporate audience (Hern, 2015). High cost and lack of realized functionality have already proved to be forces that stalled the acceptance and adoption of the Google product. The video, A Day with Google Glass, shows ground-breaking progress with wearable technology that in the end proved to be bulky and lacking in aesthetic appeal that is usually associated with wearable items. Removing a major limitation of the Google Glass technology, its wearability, would catapult the creation of another disruptive technology that would focus on the virtual reality from an environmental experience that would not be dependent on the individual experience. Such a product would incorporate a shared experience through collective environments and would dramatically take the virtual experience to another level. With this in mind, I predict that within five years, the world will witness trace evidence of the Corning Glass experience with the Jetson-like existence taking root by year 2030.
Davis, C. R., & Rosenfield, L. K. (2015). Looking at plastic surgery through Google Glass: part 1. Systematic review of Google Glass evidence and the first plastic surgical procedures. Plastic and reconstructive surgery, 135(3), 918-928.
Duerson, M. (2012). Google glasses walk the DVF runway at Fashion Week. New York Daily News. Retrieved at http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/fashion/google-glasses-walk-dvf-runway-fashion-week-article-1.1156041.
Hashimoto, D. A., Phitayakorn, R., Fernandez-del Castillo, C., & Meireles, O. (2016). A blinded assessment of video quality in wearable technology for telementoring in open surgery: the Google Glass experience. Surgical endoscopy, 30(1), 372-378.
Hern, A. (2015). Google Glass is back! But now it’s for businesses? Retrieved at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/31/google-glass-wearable-computer-businesses.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2014a). David Thornburg: Disruptive technologies [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2014i). David Thornburg: Science fiction [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Pace, S. (2013). Looking at innovation through CCT glasses: Consumer culture theory and Google glass innovation. Journal of Innovation Management, 1(1), 38-54.
Rauschnabel, P. A., Brem, A., & Ivens, B. S. (2015). Who will buy smart glasses? Empirical results of two pre-market-entry studies on the role of personality in individual awareness and intended adoption of Google Glass wearables. Computers in Human Behavior, 49, 635-647.
Sacco, A. (2014). How Many People Actually Own Google Glass? Retireved at
Sultan, N. (2015). Reflective thoughts on the potential and challenges of wearable technology for healthcare provision and medical education. International Journal of Information Management, 35(5), 521-526.