Three Health Risks with Google Glass

Google Glass live demo at Google I/O 2012

Google introduced Google Glass, or Project Glass at last year’s Google I/O conference, quickly becoming the talk of the town.  And why wouldn’t it be?  The connected spectacles give people the freedom to do more things with their hands, displaying directions, reminders and more on the heads-up display.  While, the gadget is far from being available for consumers, Google recently invited developers for a hackathon regarding Google Glass.

Before its official introduction in June, rumors about the nifty eye wear had been around since early 2012.  And though it’s rare to find someone wearing Google Glass out on the street, Google co-founder Sergey Brin has already incorporated it into his everyday look, he was even spotted in the subway wearing a wool cap and the infamous Google Glass device.

Everyone has been talking about how cool it would be to own an internet connected HUD that allows you to do the same tasks that you can do on a smartphone and probably much more, but is it really safe to be used on a daily basis?

Health Hazards

There are numerous hazards to be considered before Google Glass or anything like it can be available for consumer use, and the number one factor is how this technology could affect people’s health.

Accident Prone

Attachment to mobile devices such as a smartphones proved to be detrimental to one’s well-being.  For one, there are a number of people who have gotten into accidents because they were busy looking at their phone screen instead of the road, or in front of them while walking.  If people use HUDs, then this technology could prove to be even more distracting.

See, if you are looking at your phone’s screen while driving or walking, when someone yells at you or alerts you that you’re about to hit something, you remove your attention from the screen and back to the road, or to the lightpost you’re about to run into.  If you’re wearing something like Google Glass, even if you get alerted, the screen won’t go away, or the message or photo you are looking at would still be there, making it difficult to divert your attention, thus preventing you from getting into an accident.

Eye Strain

People sitting in front of computers or TVs, or using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, for prolonged periods could lead to eye strain or asthenopia, which is characterized by headaches, eye pain , blurred vision, or double vision.  If these screens, big or small, give us eye discomfort, imagine what a small screen, almost glued to your eyes, that has information popping up at will or when you need it, could do to your eyes?

Another thing to consider is those already wearing prescription glasses such as varifocals or progressive lenses that allows the wearer to see at various distances.  Would people wearing varifocals be able to use Google Glass?  Or would they need to get a different prescription to use this new technology?

Cancer risk

For years, we have been warned about the possibility of mobile phones causing cancer.  Some studies claim that men who were fond of clipping their phones on their belts are prone to prostate cancer and those who sleep with their phone, either beside them or placed under their pillows, make them more prone to brain cancer.

Though one study is trying to disprove these cancer claims, it’s hard not to take into consideration that exposing ourselves to this type of technology, so close to our eyes and brains, could be detrimental to our health and cause eye cancer or worse.