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Look Mom, No Hands
Wearable Tech World News Feed
July 23, 2014
Look Mom, No Hands
By Maurice Nagle
TMCnet Web Editor

UbiTech NYC (formerly glass NYC) is one of the largest groups of glass users, designers and developers in the world. The group has embraced the interoperability of the technologies of life. It features individuals working on interesting products, hosting events at Google (News - Alert) HQ in NYC and other locations as well as development and education—host classes for designing and developing for Google glass and plan to expand into Android (News - Alert) Wear shortly.

This reporter had the pleasure of sitting down with an up and comer in the space, Katy Kasmai, founder of UbiTech NYC and wearable enthusiast.

After a month of development, UbiTech Released the CityRide app last week—an app for glass for use with the Citi Bike program in New York City that provides the nearest available docking station information, completely hands free.  It is as easy as, “ok glass, locate a bike” or “dock a bike”, and all the necessary information is instantly provided for the user allowing you to keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the handlebars. Sometimes time can prove to be an issue. Working with phone can cause quite a panic, instead just give a voice command and receive turn by turn navigation to your destination.

Instructions for side loading CityRide are on the company’s website, and UbiTech NYC is looking forward to it becoming the preferred app for glass. Other cities are showing interest for expansion, illustrating the functionality and great use case for Google glass.  The key component is Glass is far less distracting than pulling out one’s cellphone, and there is no better or safer way to navigate through the city—commands are voice, with turn by turn navigation.   

Xocracy is another project Kasmai is developing.  It is a social media platform for quick and easy voting on policy issues. Currently, there is nowhere offering this type of participation, most sites are petition websites and not user friendly—Xocracy allows quick interaction to vote by swiping left or right. If the user desires more information they can swipe up and inform themselves before voting.  The app shows what friends and family are following and voting on and suggests what you may like—makes voting social.  You may vote on the same issues but all voting is confidential.  “It’s really the Tinder for politics” says Kasmai. Beta is available for download. Xocracy demonstrates how easy political engagement can be in combination with wearable tech, it doesn’t take time from your day to vote and get informed on political issues. The Beta version is fully functional, but Kasmai is working to incorporate new Google design principles.

“Wearable tech, especially glass and android ware, are all about contextual information.  What’s important is that it’s the first time in history that technology is being designed for user not the screen…allowing minimal engagement with technology to avoid losing time from our lives or adding friction.” Society is ready to get technology out of the way but keep the functionality. Most input with glass is voice—it is time to move away from the keyboard and more toward gesture and voice based communication.

“New York City is set to become a leader in wearable tech, because we are such a robust artistic and fashion community, poised for wearables to thrive in the future,” proclaims Kasmai.

Katy Kasmai and UbiTechNYC are one of many companies to explore in the wearable market at the Wearable Tech EXPO in the Jacob Javitz Center.  Don’t be shy, there’s only today and tomorrow remaining to explore the amazing innovations occurring in the wearable space.

Edited by Adam Brandt

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