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SPSU student chosen as Google Glass Explorer

Google Glass Explorer Morgan Willis

AUG. 28, 2013 – How did an SPSU student get chosen as one of 8,000 people nationwide to test a prototype of Google Glass, a tiny wearable computer that looks like a pair of high-tech glasses? It’s simple, according to Morgan Willis, a senior in the Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Technology (BASIT) program. You enter a contest.

Google Glass is a camera, display, touchpad, battery and microphone built into spectacle frames so that wearers can film, take pictures, send messages and get directions on the go. The glasses have a small screen in the top-right corner that can display mapping information, pictures, phone contacts and more. Wearers can voice-instruct the glasses to take pictures or videos, provide directions, answer questions, etc.

This past February, Google launched its “#ifihadglass” competition, seeking “bold, creative individuals” to help test Google Glass as “explorers” and app developers before it is made available to the public. Using the hash-tag on Twitter and Google+, applicants wrote an essay of 60 words or less explaining what they would do if they had Google Glass Explorer, Winners were offered the opportunity to be among the first to purchase the spectacles at a hefty cost of $1500.00. Over 200,000 people participated.

Willis, who transferred to SPSU in fall 2012, was notified that he had been chosen as a Google Glass Explorer this past spring and had to travel to Venice Beach, Calif., at his own expense in June to pick up the glasses and attend an introductory session on using them

“I just entered never expecting to win because I never win anything,” he said. “My family thinks I’m crazy for dishing out $1500.00 for a pair of glasses. I see it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“This experience has been so great,” he added. “I was asked to join the Google organization but told them I wanted to finish getting my degree. I have been offered a position with Microsoft after graduation, and I am now an app developer because of this experience.”

Reactions vary, Willis said after wearing the device on and off campus for several weeks. “Some people think I am a spy, and others are intrigued and ask me questions about it.”

Willis has an associate degree in applied science and computer programming from Atlanta Technical College and is scheduled to graduate from SPSU in 2014. He plans to develop software and create apps and programs for the device before it becomes available to the general public late this year.

To hear Willis talk about Google Glass and to see him and the device in action, watch an interview that aired on Sept. 3 on Fox 5 News.

For further details about Google Glass, click on http://www.google.com/glass/start/

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