Patent published on January 31, 2017

How Adrian Wong, lead engineer of Google Glass, is working on a way to save lives in road accidents

Google’s path to become the biggest internet company (Alphabet now) is filled with several dead or abandoned services the intentions behind the launch of which are still unknown. You might not even have heard of some of these ‘things’ that Google built and left in dust soon after that.

Have you noticed that Google have 4-5 apps that are just spin offs of each other. Hangouts, Allo, Duo, Spaces, and messenger, did I miss something? Google even had a wedding planner, which is now a just 404 page. I guess nobody wanted a wedding planner from Google that badly then.

Google has always been too serious about A/B testing and maybe that’s why they have 2 or 3 copies of each of their products. They want to see what their users prefer more and what they leave behind.

It wouldn’t be wrong if I say that Google Glass was a failed experiment. Not entirely but, looking at the banishment of Glass’s Social Accounts, seems like Google have different plans for this out-of-the-world device that nobody was ready for.

The Google Glass, which is mysteriously renamed to Project Aura or Google Glass 2 now, seemed like an innovative product when launched but, was way ahead of its time. And maybe that’s why they decided to hold their breaths on Glass.

After a long pause, the tech giant shifted its focus from consumer level product to an enterprise edition of Google Glass (Project Aura) which is reportedly being sold in industries related to healthcare, manufacturing, and energy.

They do have a plan to launch consumer level product of Project Aura but, nobody knows exactly when. And nobody knows how different will Project Aura be from Google Glass.

Recently, they made first changes in Google Glass since 2014. Besides removing bugs and software update, Google implement a bluetooth device in Glass to hook up with other devices as well.

And this morning, I was going through my casual routine of fumbling latest patents and thought to see what Google is doing with Project Aura. And to my surprise, I found a patent disclosing a new life saving feature.

The patent was filed by Adrian Wong, an ex Googler who left Google and joined Oculus but, then quietly joined back Google in 2015. Mr. Wong was, reportedly, working on Google Glass at the time he left the company. And now that he has rejoined Alphabet, it’s quite certain that he’ll be working on Project Aura. This patent on Google Glass’s new feature surely clears that up.

We’ll get back to that feature in later parts. First, let me tell you a depressing fact. 100s of people worldwide lose their lives in road accidents when they fail to contact an emergency service on time.

This was an overlooked problem for a long time, and now countries are trying to reduce the number of deaths by delay of emergency contact/response. People are working on new innovative ways to save lives in road accidents.

Recently, we found a patent about a mobile app that can figuratively save 1.3 million lives each year. We also spotted LG working on a smartwatch feature that can prevent accidents due to distracted or drunk driving before even happening.

And in addition to all of this, European Union has even made an eCall device mandatory for EU cars from March 2018. This device (eCall) will automatically detect an accident (using measures like, triggered airbag, sudden decrease in speed, etc.) and will call emergency services right away.

Well, the new feature that I found in patent is quite similar to eCall. Also, Google’s Glass even confirms the consciousness and physical state of a driver – if he can talk or not, how badly he is hurt, etc.

After the confirmation, it either sends a message or triggers a call to a previously assigned contact number in your phonebook. It also calls the emergency services right away to mitigate a risk of delayed emergency response.

It uses Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) for that. As you might be familiar, GCS is a scoring system to analyze the conscious level of a patient or anyone involved in a head injury or a trauma.

It focuses on 3 type of bodily responses viz. motor, verbal, and eye opening. And based on all the responses, a driver is given an overall score in 3-15. 15 signify normal state and 3 reflects total unconscious and a death in some situations. 3 demand an immediate medical help.

Below are the score for different situations –

Just as soon as the Glass detects an accident using metrics like, sudden decrease in speed or braking, airbag triggering, suspicious tremor in car, etc; it starts the GCS diagnosis process.

The glass then triggers the eye opening response analysis. A small camera facing your eye will confirm an eye movement. The patent application also mentions asking for your verbal responses or questions to confirm your responses.

After it records the score from eye opening metric, glass will then proceed with other two, motor (movement) and verbal, responses. It checks if the wearer is able to move or respond verbally to asked questions.

If the injured person’s score is below a threshold (say 8), the Glass triggers an emergency responses. If your score is near normal, stating that you can take the call, it triggers a call.

One thing I must mention, the Glass also senses the situation where you exceeds a predetermined speed limit or seems to drive rashly. In such a case, it will be ready for the diagnosis process in advance. Pretty neat isn’t it?

Even though Google Glass was in the shadows from a long time, we can say that Project Aura will surely take that place back which Google Glass lost in past years.

Besides, Google is going to several updates in its Maps. You can find those future features of Google Maps here.

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