The Google Glass developers are at it again; they keep coming up with new ways to burn through that tiny battery. Today, the Glass Development Kit changelog was updated to detail the addition of USB webcam support for developers looking to add access to views outside of the standard forward-facing perspective. Webcams must be attached via On-The-Go (OTG) cable, and Plug 'n Play isn't supported, so Glass must be rebooted before the attached camera can be recognized. This comes a few weeks after a Google I/O session titled Innovate with the Glass Platform where Google Engineer Hyunyoung Song demonstrated a rig she had built with a camera mounted onto the back of a bicycle helmet.

There are a few good reasons to enable access to multiple cameras on Glass, particularly where it would allow the user to see perspectives on the display that otherwise fall outside of their viewing area. A basic application might involve setting up rear-view helmets for use on a bicycle or motorcycle, but a camera could also be moved independently to see around corners or into tight places. In more advanced cases, the Glass display could be used by surgeons to look through scopes or assisted imaging devices while performing precise actions. Of course, most cameras in the medical industry are not designed with standard USB interfaces, but this step may lead the way to improved compatibility in the future.

XE19.1 - July 15, 2014

Added support for USB webcam On-The-Go (OTG) on Glass. Known issues include:

  • Plug and play for the video node is not supported. Reboot Glass to detect attached webcam.
  • If the attached accessories have a microphone, contextual voice commands may not work.
  • Holding a partial wakelock is recommended to prevent the system from suspending access to attached webcam.

Check out the Google I/O 2014 Innovate with the Glass Platform session for more information.

So far, there isn't a native webcam viewer on Glass, so users will have to seek out a 3rd-party app to make use of this feature. Since building an app to mirror the webcam to the Glass display is pretty trivial, we can probably expect to see a few suitable apps soon.

In the meantime, your weekend project is to attach a webcam to a laser tag gun. It'll be, Legen... Wait for it!

Source: Glass Platform Release Notes

Photo Credit: The Waterloo Hydrocut Blog