Google Glass Startups Begin to Emerge
If you want to know what’s going on in the developer world for Google Glass, you should talk to Ian Shakil.
Shakil was one of the first “non-Googlers” to get his hands on Google Glass and since, has launched one of the first start-ups built to design apps for the device. When he had the chance to first put on a pair, he said that he was hanging out with a bunch of Googlers and begged them to let him try them on.
“They let me geek out with them and play with some of the early software and really it was sort of epiphany moment,” Shakil said. “I peed my pants and basically quit my job and decided that I really wanted in on this. I literally saw hundreds of business opportunities and cool things we could do in health care, and I rapidly made my professional pursuit.”
Shakil, along with his partner Pelu Tran (as seen in photo above), founded start-up company Augmedix as part of an effort to build a physician-focused app for Google Glass that they say will revolutionize healthcare. Shakil was very secretive about the project but said that no one is doing what they’re about to do.
“We think that a lot of people are coming out with a lot of health-care ideas for Glass– no one has really publicly stated what we’re doing and we think it’s non obvious and we want to keep it that way for a little longer,” he said.
It made sense for Shakil and Tran to pick something in the medical field because Tran is a third year medical student at Stanford and Shakil has a background in biomedical engineering, working at companies such as Intuitive Surgical. Designing an app for a niche market like the medical field is also a smart financial move since Shakil thinks it will take a while for the average consumer to embrace Glass, which is expected to launch by year end.
“I think it will be a long time before people outside of San Francisco are wearing Glass, you know to the park and walking around just everyday people,” he said. “But the industry verticals; healthcare and security and many others, I can see us adding a huge amount of value there, in those areas first.”
Shakil says his medical app will be “hardware agnostic,” meaning Augmetix is creating not just for Glass, but also for the Vuzix M100, another smart glasses gadget coming out this year. He said they currently have closer access with Vuzix than Glass, but they plan on developing, testing and commercializing the app and service on both devices.
But the medical field is not the only field that Shakil believes Glass will thrive in. He also sees Glass working well in travel, mapping, navigation and social communication. Especially because he said Glass works “really well” and and interacts seamlessly with your senses.
“When you talk to people that wear Glass- when you take it away from them- they almost respond like you’re taking away one of their senses or like an organ or something– it fits them and they’re always used to it being there- and when you take it away it’s like taking their child away,” he said.
Shakil definitely has a head start on the competition as developers rush to events like South by Southwest to learn more about Glass so they can start creating. But if Glass becomes as much a part of your body as Shakil says it will, the sky’s the limit on what kind of amazing inventions developers will come up with around this new technology.
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