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Why Google Glass Does Not and Can Not Have a Cellular Connection

Google Glass is going to do a lot of interesting things. Wearers will be able to get turn-by-turn directions, instantly share videos and pictures with the world, carry on video calls, and get information about the world while still looking at the world… as long as you have your cell phone or there’s a Wi-Fi connection. It would be great if Glass was a completely standalone device, but it would need its own cellular connection for that. There is not, and won’t be a cellular connection in Google Glass, but there’s good reasons for that — like FCC regulations, and people’s irrational fear of cancer.

In no way am I saying that Google Glass will give you cancer, and I’m speculating about the reasons for the lack of a cellular connection in the device. People’s fear of the radio frequency energy emitted by phones and other devices could be indirectly responsible for the lack of a cellular data connection in Google Glass.

People are still debating whether cell phone use can increase the risk of cancer, but I’m firmly in the camp that they do not. To keep things on the side of caution though, the FCC regulates the levels of radio frequency energy a cellular device can deliver to the human body. A cell phone that is being kept in your pocket that is then used at arms length, and then held to the head is moving around and distributing that energy to a few places.

Devices like Google Glass stay in one place on the body, and given that Glass is the kind of thing people will probably be using almost entirely through the day means it focuses a lot of RF energy in one spot on the body. Does that mean it will give you cancer in that spot? No. It does not. What it means is that it could deliver a higher level of RF energy than the FCC will allow, which could also mean that the same people who are afraid their phone will give them cancer could be even more afraid that Google Glass will give them cancer, even though neither of them will give you cancer.

So as amazing as it would to have Google Glass be a stand alone product with a cellular connection that works everywhere, it can’t be, and it probably won’t be able to because of the FCC regulations, and people being afraid to die.

Another, much simpler explanation could be that that maintaining a cellular connection eats up battery, and then Google Glass would have to have a much larger, aesthetic killing battery. It also looks like Glass is going to rely on the wearer’s phone to do most of the heavy lifting for these features, and is really just a way to access what your phone is doing without looking at your phone.

Still though, it looks like it’s going to be pretty amazing.

(via Business Insider, image via ERN5_)

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