While the Google Glass may look slightly ridiculous hanging off your face, it’s hard to deny it has some pretty nifty uses. The ability to navigate your way around a new city with directions in the corner of your eye, or record things like concerts and sporting events from your own perspective is pretty cool.
And there’s another feature that could prove incredibly useful. According to New Scientist, Google Glass has the ability to find your friends in a crowded place, such as a shopping mall or a busy bar, based on the clothes they wear.
But there’s a catch.
The system is called InSight, and it was developed by Srihari Nelakuditi at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, in partnership with Google. It works by snapping a series of photos of a person to create a “fashion fingerprint,” based on things like the colors, textures, and patterns of the clothes.
It then uses that fashion fingerprint to identify a person at “odd viewing angles” or over long distances. So Google Glass could help you find your friends in busy places.
The catch is that when your friends change their clothes, the fashion fingerprint is ruined, and so it no longer works. What’s more, in other to protect privacy, it only lasts for a short period of time, “say for a day or an evening,” according to Nelakuditi.
But it could still be hugely useful. Say you go our with a group of friends to a party or festival, and you end up getting lost on your way back from the bar. Google Glass will have their fashion fingerprints stored from earlier that evening, and it’ll be able to help you find them again.
And it’s very accurate. New Scientist reports that in early tests with 15 volunteers, the technology identified people 93% of time, even when they had their backs to the headset user.
There will still be privacy concerns with InSight, even though it may only store fashion fingerprints temporarily.
As noted by Macgasm, it’s only a matter of time before Google realizes it can use this technology to advertise certain things to users based on what they wear, “or law enforcement uses the technology to pick people out of crowds and make arrests.”
Nevertheless, it’s still pretty cool.