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Demmer uses Google Glass to show a day at the statehouse

Published: Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 9:19 a.m. CDT
(Photo provided by state Rep. Tom Demmer)
State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, wore a Google Glass computer Thursday while he went about business in Springfield. "It's not as foreign as I thought it would be," Demmer said of the technology. "It's just like a floating phone screen."

State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, may have gotten a few strange looks Thursday while working at the state capital.

He was wearing Google Glass, a wearable computer that’s being developed by Google, to show residents what a typical day for a state legislator is like.

Click here to watch state Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, talk to state legislators Thursday while wearing Google Glass.

While the technology still is being tested by Google, Demmer was able to sample the glasses Thursday.

“It’s not as foreign as I thought it would be,” he said after returning to Dixon. “It’s just a floating phone screen. The stuff you view is what you’d expect it to look like.” 

The glasses are controlled by your voice, he said, but much like voice controlled cellphones, it has limitations. To activate Google Glass, Demmer said, the user either taps the side or tilts their head up.

While he didn’t think there was an immediate benefit to using the Google Glass while serving as a legislator, there could be applications for them in the future, he said. One benefit could be being able to call up pieces of legislation or voting records immediately.

“As technology evolves, so do our ways of interacting with constituents and listening to and engaging people in democracy,” he said to legislators in Springfield.

Demmer told the other legislators that while the glasses may look out of place, there was a time, too, when using cellphones and checking email were unusual.

In addition to posting a legislative survey on his website, Demmer said he interacts with residents through Twitter and Facebook, preferring to use Twitter to update constituents while he’s in Springfield and using Facebook to add pictures and longer updates while in Dixon.

There was one application on Google Glass that Demmer was especially impressed with. The app could translate text on a page you were reading into another language, he said, and project those translated words right onto the page.

“It’s still very obviously in beta testing,” he said of Google Glass overall. “It’s still a little buggy and quirky. You can definitely tell it’s first generation.”

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