Phenomenal number of exciting projects

JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

A googolplex is a phenomenally large number. It is also the inspiration for that internet giant Google and represents the vast amounts of data on the internet that is searchable using Google. That is not all Google do though.

If you have been listening to BBC Radio lately, you may have heard Rory Cellan-Jones telling about his experiences with Google Glass. If you have missed the multitude of shows he has appeared on or haven’t heard about Glass before, here is a brief explanation.

Google Glass is the first computing device to be worn on the face. Powered by Android, you wear it just as you would a normal pair of glasses. There is a little piece of glass that sits over one eye and this acts as your screen. It has a built-in camera, mic and the speakers work via bone conduction. Meaning, you can take pictures, shoot film, make phone calls and do it all via voice control. Saying “OK Glass” sets the thing into motion, although there is also a button on the side for some functions.

Google Glass is available to buy for $1500, but is still in beta. So don’t expect it to feel like a finished product yet.

Google recently announced a new mobile operating system called Android Wear. This has been designed specifically for smart watches and looks set to do what Android has done for smart phones.

It’s like something out of Star Wars isn’t it, but that’s not all.

This one you will all be familiar with, the aspiration to map the entire world via Google Maps. It sounded crazy a few years ago, but today it is more a reality than ever and it makes so many things possible. Like self driving cars.

This week (as of this writing) Google showed the world a self driving car they have been developing. The prototype doesn’t have a steering wheel, or anything you would find in a normal car. You just sit in it, strap in and press a button. The car literally does the rest. Google’s aim is to make driving safer for pedestrians and motorists alike.

Not mad enough? How about Project Loon? Two thirds of the world’s population do not have any internet access. Project Loon seeks to fix that, by floating balloons in the stratosphere (above airplanes and weather) and sending signals down to receiving antennas on the ground. So remote locations will get internet access, but also it means access can be restored quickly after natural disasters, which makes communications on the ground much better during those situations.

Wow. I am running out of space and I haven’t even mentioned walking robots being built by Boston Dynamics (owned by Google), drone airplanes delivering internet access (another company owned by Google), Word Lens (recently bought by Google) which translates written text and has been made free and also works with Google Glass… the list goes on.