eave it to Google to transform tech-savvy glasses from mere geek chic ones. The new spectacles, marketed under the name Glass, come wired with the same software technology as smartphones and seek to transform the way the wearer interacts with the world. The developing, hands-free smartwear device promises users the ability to record videos, transcribe voices, translate and give directions, all in real time. Basically, it’s Android technology fitted for your face. One button-like component near the right ear, which holds a bone conduction transducer, actually feeds audio information straight into the brain without bothering other people in the vicinity. As part of the Glass Explorer Program, participants can sign up to purchase the $1,500 wearable tech, available in five sleek colors: “Charcoal, Tangerine, Shale, Cotton, Sky.” Lightweight and flexible, this modern gadget also promises to – in time – manipulate other household appliances, including heating.
Unavoidably, the reach of Google’s breathtaking new product extends to the world of food, with ads showing Roy Choi, Korean American chef and owner of L.A.’s famous Kogi BBQ food truck, as an early adopter of Glass’s use in the kitchen. While Choi’s expertise helps build an idealized view of this new device, it has yet to be seen how a technologically stacked pair of shades will find its place in the arsenal of the average home chef.
Being about as much of a tech nerd as I am a food nerd, Google’s efforts of tuning Glass toward the art of cooking frantically excited me. More than that, it convinced me to make the monetary plunge required to jump aboard the Glass hype train at its most preliminary of stops. Though currently being offered as what amounts to a glorified, expensive beta product, the device already displays quite a high level of functionality. The initial setup is easy to follow and – dare I say – enjoyable, for simultaneously teaching and showing off. Connected to my Wi-Fi, paired to my iPhone and loaded with every available application, I was ready to dive into turning my fancy pair of shades into a trusty kitchen tool.
Perhaps the true benefit of using Glass for cooking comes long before you even break out your knife and turn the stove on. One principle benefit, I’ve found, is in the way the device generally aids and syncs the whole of your research and social activity, prior to the actual cooking process. Imagine no longer needing to venture to the grocery store with a shopping list, in hand or on the screen of your phone. Instead, your ingredients remain easily viewable in the corner of your vision. This not only avoids the potential shopping cart collisions that come with constantly looking down at a list but speeds up your shopping process in general.
Further, using the built-in microphone and tethering to your phone’s data network, Glass can answer any questions about products or measurements that would normally entail approaching an employee or navigating your phone’s browser. Being able to field calls, texts and the other inevitable social interactions of everyday life, without breaking your shopping stride, sheds countless minutes off of your prep time – given you’re not too proud to walk out in public looking like a cyborg. The reverse is true as well, allowing amateur chefs to photograph and record every miniscule part of their cooking process rather easily. This feature, paired with Glass’s first-person perspective, makes the device particularly well-suited for making tutorials and instructing others on certain dishes.
When the ingredients are resting in the cupboard and, the time truly comes to begin to cook, Glass users have a choice between two real methods of engaging with a recipe: the device’s web browser and the designated cooking app. While Glass’s web browser is certainly functional, it’s hardly optimized for the multitasking required of a complex dish. Yes, indeed, it allows users to draw on all the recipes present on the internet, but the clunky navigation and zooming required to actually read the directions makes this method no better than a simple print-out version. It is rather likely that Google will improve Glass’s browser as the project continues yet, as it stands, this manner of using the device for cooking is undeniably contrived. Some might accept these drawbacks to simply indulge in making any recipe they so please, but I’m not about to simultaneously handicap myself in the kitchen while taking the further risk of sending a $1,500 tech device to a watery grave in my pasta pot.
The second, and ultimately more intuitive, method is to use the Glass-optimized app Allthecooks. While the app works within a set of stock recipes, its library has been bolstered by the additions of a rather active community across Andriod, iOS and other operating systems. In this way, although Allthecooks might not have a certain celebrity chef’s take on shepherd’s pie, it has any number of other varied, rated takes on the dish. The app allows the user to peruse featured recipes or use the search function to find one of his or her choosing. Upon selection, pictures of the dish are displayed alongside an estimated cooking time and required ingredients. From there, you can choose the dish and begin the cooking process.
To read the full article, go to readbuzz.com!
Compared to trying to navigate a web browser out of the corner of my right eye, Allthecooks conveniently turns each recipe into a sort of slideshow: you’re only given one step to look at as a time and can manually flip forwards and backwards as you need to. This feature allowed me to easily keep my place and have the exact measurements and temperatures I wanted at my fingertips. As someone who very neurotically double and triple checks his numbers, I will admit that Glass, in conjunction with Allthecooks, really did save me time and proved a notable advantage over viewing a recipe on my phone or in a cookbook. The application further offers a Q&A section on each recipe, allowing you to dictate a question to the community and, ideally, hear back in real time. (We ran out of space, but finish reading the article at readbuzz.com)!
In terms of comfort, the device never overheated or felt uncomfortable to wear but, as quite the sweaty chef, it definitely fell prey to my quickly moistening hair. The device was not a problem to wear, but I remained very conscious of its presence and somewhat restrained in the speed of my turns and movement in the kitchen. However, this could perhaps just be an individual problem that goes away with further use of Glass or, at the very least, one that will disappear with the advent of more lightweight materials in its construction.
While Google’s advertising puts forth the ideal of the majestic, efficient “cyberchef” of the future, using the Glass – no matter how cool – never lost the feeling of being a novelty. Cooking with Glass always felt like something I was doing simply for the experience, rather than for the actual aid it brought to my cooking process. The device truly shone when I approached dishes I had never made before, saving me from having to stop stirring or otherwise diverting my attention to look ahead to the next step. Nevertheless, unless you’re already wearing Glass day to day and are in the habit of charging and using it for all your needs, it’s not going to become a kitchen essential.
Apart from the built-in camera, Glass offers nothing a bit of pre-cook research and planning doesn’t. Even the most obsessive home chef, a category in which I firmly place myself, eventually hones his or her senses to a point where having a recipe inhibits some of the creativity and magic. In this, the Glass becomes almost too much, encouraging you to be too strict and subject to what someone on some stove, somewhere else, thought tasted best. As it stands, Google’s tech serves as a nice spice to the cooking process, but one I can’t see stocking all our racks any time soon.