Developer creates Glass Tesla, a Google Glass app that communicates with your Tesla S electric car in case you forgot where you parked it.
Google I/O: 10 Key Developments
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Google Glass still turns heads when sighted on the street, but the computerized eyewear is less noticeable when worn by the driver of a Tesla Model S, a device of roughly equal rarity and one of the few Silicon Valley status symbols that eclipses Glass.
Though there are only a few thousand Glass devices in circulation and roughly 10,000 Model S vehicles on the road in the U.S., Sahas Katta, founder of restaurant website service Pepperdeck, created a Google Glass app for interacting with the Telsa Model S. He said in a phone interview that there appear to be 57 people presently using the app on a regular basis. But mass distribution isn't really the point of Glass Tesla, as he calls the app.
Katta created the app as an experiment, because he had access to Glass and a Telsa. There isn't an official Tesla API (yet) but there are Tesla apps, for Android and iOS, that have been analyzed to create an unofficial API. In addition, Katta says he had to do some reverse engineering to figure out how his app could communicate with the Tesla systems.
Despite the fact that Katta discusses his app in a YouTube video while driving a Tesla Model S, he says Glass Tesla, in its current state, is designed for use outside the car. The app can, for example, locate your Tesla on a map, in case you forget where you parked your $70,000+ electric vehicle.
Glass Tesla can also honk the car's horn, flash its headlights, assess the state of the doors, trunk and sunroof, lock or unlock the doors, open or close the sunroof, view vehicle charging status, start or stop charging, open the charge port, view the car's cabin temperature and adjust climate controls.
"Imagine carrying groceries to the car, you can just say, 'Okay Glass, open trunk,'" Katta said.
But don't let your imagination get carried away: Tesla restricts the ways in which car functions can be remotely controlled, for safety reasons. The car company provides a few ways to activate car systems, like the horn, door locks and lights. But mostly the API calls are limited to read-only access of car data, which is probably for the best. You wouldn't want a hacker to find a way to kill the engine remotely.
Katta sees wearable computing as a natural way to extend the tools we use, and clearly others are thinking about similar lines: Katta noted in a Google+ post on Monday that he demonstrated his Glass Tesla app for Ford CEO Allan Mullaly last week.
"There's a lot of opportunity to build apps that improve driving," he said.
Google, meanwhile, continues to improve Glass. Last week, the company issued its third software update for its eyewear. The update expands the available voice commands, broadens access to one's contacts and adds new ways to navigate websites using Glass.
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.