Four First-of-Their-Kind Apps Created at Canadian Google Glass Hackathon

First Canadian Google Glass Hackathon

Canada’s first-ever Google Glass Hackathon wrapped up yesterday in Toronto and resulted in four new apps to add to the growing directory of Glassware for Google’s wearable tech.

Organized by Google Glass Pioneer, Macy Kuang, the Hackathon was put together to beef up the small catalogue of applications currently available for Glass, as well as to create an environment where Explorers and Developers could benefit from sharing knowledge about designing and developing apps for this new platform.

Four of about ten Google Glass Explorers in Canada were teamed up with developers and designers to conceptualize and develop applications. All four of the teams successfully presented a working demo of their apps at the end of the event – and all four apps were a first of their kind for this device.

Stereo, a music streaming app that plays music from SoundCloud, was created by a team led by CTO of Spently, Jean-Luc David. As audio streaming was not something that could be coded out of the box, this app had perhaps the most challenging road to develop. Stereo allows Glass users to search for an artist or music genre using Glass’ voice search feature and then returns a playlist from SoundCloud which can be heard through the bone-conducting headset.

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Macy Kuang’s app, Words with Glass, also leveraged voice but this time to help teach users a new language. Using the Microsoft Translate API, Kuang created an app that allows users to say a word in their native tongue and than have Glass say the word back in the language they’re learning. Right now the app only teaches Mandarin but the plan is to support all eight available languages via the Microsoft API. Co-creator, Pearl Chen told BetaKit that the idea for Words with Glass came from a need to “create an app that wasn’t just a lifestyle app, but that was more transformative”.

BNOTIONS, which hosted the event at their office, was represented by Matthew Patience, Technical Director of Android and Glass Explorer, who created Happy Belly – a nutritional information app which provides users the ability to figure out the calorie count in food or menu items on the go.

My app rounded out the bunch thanks to the help of Genesys software developer, Aaron Surty. Using the Yelp API, we created Glass Eats – a restaurant finder for Google Glass that provides users with restaurant choices nearby or search by restaurant category. The app uses both tappable menu actions and voice commands to send Glass users Yelp results and even goes as far as letting users call or get directions to a selected location from their device.

All of these apps will be made available to the 10,000 Explorers after some final development tweaks have been made. Kuang wrapped up the event by congratulating everyone involved. “We have made four apps for Glass in three days, so this Hackathon was definitely a success. Hopefully we can make an impact with our apps and we should definitely do this again.”

Tom Emrich

Tom Emrich

As a writer, consultant and community builder, Tom Emrich uses his passion for new technologies to act as a catalyst to bring on the future. He founded We Are Wearables, an organization that rallies the tech community together to learn, discuss and celebrate the wearable tech space in order to foster adoption and facilitate innovation. We Are Wearables currently has chapters in Toronto and Chicago. Tom writes regularly about wearables and other emerging technologies for MobileSyrup, BetaKit and Designers of Things. He also works with startups, and large organizations as an advisor and consultant offering assistance on product development, marketing and organizational strategy.