Monday, March 3, 2014

Google Glass Demos For Mac/iPhone Users

One of the things I plan to do with Glass is to demonstrate the new device for students, faculty, and staff at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. Though this has always been the plan, I didn't know what I would have to do to make that a reality, so I had to start completely from scratch.  If you are planning to demo the device yourself, take a look at what I did, and hopefully you will also find it useful:

My first step was go to the MyGlass app for iOS/iPhone, which I had to download initially to setup Glass.  The app comes with a convenient "Screencast" tool, allowing whoever holds the iPhone (the same thing applies for Android users) a chance to see exactly what the person using Glass sees on their Glass device.  This has been a great tool for giving demos to one or two people, but obviously wouldn't work for a large group due to the small screen.  The Screencast tool has also helped allow others to try out the device, as it enables me to see what they can see, and help them navigate on the device.

I tried a couple things using the Screencast tool on MyGlass app for IOS.  First, I scoured the App Store for a good app to display what I had on my iPhone screen, in this case the MyGlass app, on a desktop PC or a Mac wirelessly (without having to have the USB cable that comes with Glass plugged in).  I thought if I could display to a computer, I could then connect the computer via VGA cable to our projector.  Unfortunately, no such app really exists for iPhone to Mac or PC, and if it does, I couldn't find it.  After calling Apple, they wouldn't recommend any of the reflector or mirroring apps out there, so I decided to go a different route. 

Next, I tried using a 30-Pin to VGA Adapter from the Apple Store to display my iPhone and the MyGlass app onto a projector via VGA cable.  I plugged the adapter into my iPhone 4S, and into the projector through the VGA cable; it auto-recognized and got so close to displaying what I could see on Glass!  Unfortunately, the MyGlass app is only able to display on iPhone horizontally and does not rotate when you rotate the phone.  This meant that the MyGlass app displayed to the projector, but on its side.  Since projector was only able to flip vertically, I still had no effective way of displaying what I was seeing on Glass to a large group because I couldn't exactly ask the audience to just tilt their heads at a 90 degree angle...  Then, for a fleeting moment I thought about using our portable projector and just put it on its side, hoping the video quality wouldn't be completely distorted or the projector wouldn't explode, but I decided that would be a last resort.

Last but not least, I plugged the device directly into my Macbook and decided I could live with the chord running from my head to the computer while I gave the demo.  Unfortunately for me, the device did not auto-recognize to display what I was seeing in Glass so I had to go a little bit further and install Android Debug Bridge, turn Glass onto debug mode, and then download and run Droid@Screen, a screen mirroring tool. If you're not a software developer, it's a little bit of a tricky process but it's definitely doable.  For detailed instructions on how to go about setting up ADB to work with the Droid@Screen and display Glass to your computer, check out this great post.

After all of that, I was up and running directly from Glass to my Mac, mirroring Glass' "cards," Google's name for each display screen.  They look like this: 

The next step was to head back to the Apple store for a new VGA adapter, this time a Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter which allows a VGA cable to work for MacBooks (Pro and Air) from 2011 onward, as the adapter uses the Thunderbolt input.

Again, the projector auto-recognized my Mac and this time it displayed perfectly, just as it did on my computer screen. 

Thanks for reading and good luck.

Follow me on Twitter @AmandaMunsch

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