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Google Glass app lets you sneak photos with a wink

Google Glass app lets you sneak photos with a wink


Developers are just beginning to discover Glass' hidden capabilities

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Google Glass (STOCK)
Google Glass (STOCK)

A Google Glass developer has created an app that allows you to take a photo using just your eye. The Winky app, currently available through GitHub, lets you power up Glass from standby mode and snap a quick photo. Mike DiGiovanni, who works as an emerging technology lead at Roundarch Isobar, says having voiceless control over Glass "really changes things." Although it doesn't take a huge amount of effort to ask Glass to take a photo (or to press the side-mounted button), DiGiovanni notes that doing so is "a context switch that takes you out of the moment."

Glass can detect at least four types of blinking

DiGiovanni also released a brief video showing the gesture. He tells us that Glass has some "pretty cool sensor algorithms" that can detect the magnitude and lengths of winks. A typical blink won't activate Winky, as "you actually have to get that scrunch up" for Glass to acknowledge the gesture he's using for the app. He also tells us that he's "stumbled across some code that even appears to detect blinks, double blinks, and double winks."

The app is being deployed as a native APK, which is a completely different tactic from the Glassware system that The New York Times and Path used to publish their apps. DiGiovanni tells The Verge that "Glassware is just a bunch of web service calls that eventually find their way to your Glass device." He says the system "provide[s] very limited interaction and no hardware access outside of something being able to send audio back." It seems likely that, for now at least, the most compelling Glass tweaks and hacks will be limited to deployment in this way, and relatively inaccesible to non-developers.

The most compelling tweaks and hacks aren't likely to be released through Glassware

The news that Glass users will be able to snap a photo without talking or pushing a button will do little to abate concerns that Glass could be used to invade people's privacy by secretly recording them or taking photos. Tech evangelist Robert Scoble, who has a developer edition of Glass, argued recently that the privacy concerns were unfounded, as users have no choice but to indicate that they're taking a photo or video. Although this app goes a ways toward invalidating that argument, a column of light appearing in front of a Glass wearer's eye would still be a pretty big giveaway. These are obviously early days for the development of any Glass app, but we're intrigued to see what the developer, and others, do with the concept of wink gestures.