Does Google Glass Pose Safety, Health and Security Risks?

Google Glass ranks among the most anticipated of wearable technologies. But a pair of glasses with a small computer screen above one eye is bound to raise concerns about security, privacy, and even the health and safety of the person wearing it.

By James A. Martin
Mon, December 02, 2013

CIO — Google Glass is one of the most hotly anticipated new technologies for 2014. Early adopters, called "Glass Explorers," already praise the Internet-connected eyewear's potential for surgery, firefighting, identifying criminals and much more.

However, there are some concerns that wearing Google Glass may compromise the safety and health of its users. A California woman's recent traffic citation for wearing Google Glass while driving reignited debate about the safety of using the device behind the wheel. For more on that topic, see How Safe is Google Glass for Driving?

Opinion: It Should Be Illegal to Use Google Glass While Driving

Aside from driving, we asked Google Glass explorers, app developers and others to weigh in on the safety and potential health risks of using Google Glass. (Google didn't respond to requests for comments for this article.)

Is Google Glass Safe While Walking or Biking?

Glass Almanac blog editor and Glass Explorer Matt McGee has walked and biked while using Google Glass. In general, he says he believes it's safe.

"Glass' navigation helped me get to some new places while I was walking through Philadelphia and San Francisco this summer. It was great to use the navigation and get where I wanted without having to look down and risk colliding into people or who-knows-what," McGee says.

Biking is "a little trickier," McGee says; "you're moving 10 to 15 mph and potentially near traffic. So I occasionally have to stop the bike if I need to do something with Glass. But it's really fun." McGee has also shot videos while cycling with his Google Glass headset on; here's one example:

On the other hand, Rich Chang, CEO and partner of NewFoundry, a Google Glass app developer, says that walking or biking while using Google Glass is potentially unsafe. "Many people are already not paying attention while crossing the street because of smartphones and MP3 players. Adding something that provides visual input is a recipe for increased accident risk."

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