The City of Toronto Is Getting Glass Hacked This Weekend

First Canadian Google Glass Hackathon

Toronto is getting its “Glass on” this weekend as it hosts the second ever Google Glass Hackathon in Canada. The hack brings together developers, designers and Google Glass Explorers to create new Glassware for Google’s first wearable tech device.

Kicking off this Friday, the event already has three times the number of Google Glass Explorers registered compared to last year, with fifteen teams in total. This number might seem small, but considering Google Glass is not technically available north of the border, it’s a pretty huge gathering.

As the event is around Earth Day, organizer and explorer Macy Kuang felt that a city-focused theme would be appropriate. This year the teams will be asked to develop Google Glass applications that will benefit the city of Toronto and those that live in it.  The initiative is being supported by the City of Toronto, which is encouraging the use of its Open Data APIs within the apps. Those teams who have used Toronto’s Open Data at the hack will be eligible to present their apps at City Hall and apps will also be posted on Toronto.ca.

Like last year, the teams will have just two and half days to ideate, develop and present a working Google Glass app to the group. One significant change is the development options for Glass which weren’t available when the first hack took place back in July of 2013. At that time, Glass developers were only given access to the Mirror API, a way to develop web-based applications which send updates to Glass. Since then, Google has released the GDK (Glass Development Kit) which is used to create more robust apps that can run on Glass itself and have more low-level access to the device’s sensors.

Canada’s first Glass Hack produced four first-of-their kind apps including Stereo, a music streaming app that plays music from SoundCloud; Words With Glass, 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; and Glass Eats, a restaurant finder for Google Glass that provides users with restaurant choices nearby or search by restaurant category.

This year the event will be hosted by sponsors BNOTIONS and MaRS Discovery District.

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.