On May 12, I had the privilege of being part of Australia’s first Google Glass meetup, held in the nation’s capital at the University of Canberra’s Inspire Centre.
The event was created by Alexander Hayes, who has been conducting interviews with Glass Explorers on their experiences and applications for the device and has assembled a YouTube portfolio of over 50 interviews which can be found by clicking here.
A number of high profile US Explorers including Cecilia Abadie, Libby Chang and Brandon King participated in the event via Google Hangouts, and this combined with representatives from the much smaller (at this stage) Australian Glass community who were physically present at the event, drew a large and diverse crowd.
Attendance was both in person and electronically, with participants from around the world watching via the live Hangout and participating in the vigorous twitter conversation via the #ucgm1 hashtag (which saw the event trending on the Canberra twitter charts, a significant impact on the night before the first budget of the new Federal government is handed down!).
After the three Explorers mentioned above kicked off the night, we broke into interest groups. I moved into the Healthcare room where two fantastic orthopaedic surgeons, Dr David Martineau and Dr Safet Hatic, joined me via Hangout to talk about their experiences using Glass in surgery. We had a great conversation (which can be viewed here) with lots of audience questions and participation.
The only negative was that it meant I missed the other conversations going on simultaneously, where Professor Mark Billinghurst from New Zealand presented in the main auditorium, and the amazing CodeCadets from Canberra Grammar also spoke. The CodeCadets apparently had the audience in the palm of their hands! Both groups were also joined by a number of other US Explorers via Hangout, adding to the diversity of experiences shared. Fortunately these were also recorded so I’m looking forward to catching up on them too. Professor Billinghurst’s presentation, along with others from the main auditorium, can be viewed by visiting this link.
From there, all the groups recombined for Julian Ridden to deliver a great keynote which included live streaming his view of the audience (well for a short while anyway until Glass overheated, doing more to debunk the perception of Glass being a surveillance device than any word could!). Julian’s presentation can be viewed in the video I’ve linked above.
Can anyone raise the number of Glass references in a single image than this one I took through Glass of Julian talking about Glass while wearing Glass and streaming through Glass?!
To add to the tech fun, we had Yumili roaming through the audience filming and delivering yet another visual perspective on the night!
Just to show that traditional communication methods still also deliver great value, the night was also being captured by the amazing Gavin Blake from FeverPicture whose whiteboard illustrations provided a brilliant summary and left us all in awe of his talents.
All in all it was a fantastic night and one which illustrated how keen Australians are to be able to access Glass more readily and bring its potential to life here!
Many many thanks to The Inspire Centre, Professor Robert Fitzgerald, Matt Bacon, Lee Yu and of course Alexander Hayes for creating such an awesome event, one which is billed as being only the first. Bring on the next one, I can’t wait.