Google's wearable cloud computing device known as Glass may be the most anticipated device since the iPhone, but without robust supporting software the device could fall flat. However, thanks to Google's aggressive developer program it looks like Glass will launch for the public later this year with a decent number of apps, one of which just earned its developers the Google Faculty Research Award.
The app, created by Dr. Srihari Nelakuditi of the University of South Carolina and Dr. Romit Roy Choudhury of Duke University, is called InSight and it offers a way to identify people in a crowd even if their face is turned away from the person wearing Glass. The software uses visual data, design patterns, and human movement to create a sort of visual fingerprint of a person. In a recent test of the software, InSight was able to correctly identify 15 volunteers 93 percent of the time without using facial recognition.
So if you were already one of those who thought Glass was a potentially creepy, privacy busting device, the notion that even obscuring your face won't keep your identity private when being viewed through the device is probably even more troubling. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and we're likely to see a number of new Glass apps in coming months that fundamentally challenge our notions of personal privacy and public identity.