web analytics
July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Can Google Glasses Help Your Rabbi Decide if the Etrog is Kosher?

Let’s say you are a Chabadnik and want someone to try putting on tefillin. He puts on his Google Glass and the blessing flashes before his eyes. But is it kosher?
By:
Does Judaism have a new future with Google Glasses? Chaim Cohen tries it out..

Does Judaism have a new future with Google Glasses? Chaim Cohen tries it out..
Photo Credit: Matthew Hersh: Hub City Communicaitons

Over the past few weeks, strangers have begun stopping high school computer science teacher Chaim Cohen on the street. A few accuse him of recording them without their knowledge. Even fewer blame him for all of society’s ills.

But many just want an answer to a simple question: Is he wearing Google Glass?

Cohen is among the approximately 2,000 developers throughout the United States who are trying out the search giant’s much-hyped wearable computer, a futuristic Internet-connected gadget that users wear like a pair of glasses and enables them to stream information from the Web directly into their field of vision.

Using voice commands and hand gestures, Google Glass users can take pictures, record videos, get directions and send messages.

“I offer to let them try it on,” Cohen said. “My goal is to advocate for this and show people that this is not a bad thing. It’s a good thing.”

Well before Google Glass is expected to be publicly available sometime in 2014, the device already is generating controversy. Critics worry that users will be able to surreptitiously take photographs with an app that permits wearers to snap pictures just by winking. Some bars and casinos, citing privacy concerns, have preemptively banned the device. In West Virginia, legislators have tried to make it illegal to wear Glass while driving.

But none of this concerns Barry Schwartz, CEO of the Web development firm RustyBrick, who can hardly wait to get his hands on it. Schwartz is one of the 8,000 “explorers” chosen by Google to receive the device for $1,500 apiece.

“We would be programming Jewish-related apps to help Jewish people use the technology to live their Jewish lives,” said Schwartz, whose company has already developed popular Jewish applications for smartphones, like a digital prayer book and Hebrew translator.

Schwartz’s vision of a Glass-enabled Jewish life sounds incredibly futuristic. Notifications flash when it’s time to pray. Nearby synagogues or kosher restaurants are instantly located. Important Jewish dates such as yahrtzeits and holidays are never forgotten.

Recently, a Chabad rabbi at StanfordUniversity set up a Google Glass tefillin stand. Men who chose to don the ritual leather straps then put on Glass and the blessing flashed before their eyes.

Google Glass, which is generating controversy even before hitting the market in 2014, is being seen as a powerful technology for Jewish applications. Potential Jewish applications for Glass are endless, Schwartz says.

“Let’s say you want to buy an etrog,” he said. “You can create a Google Hangout and have a rabbi look at the etrog as you are looking at it. The rabbi can ask you to turn it to the right and turn it to the left, and can give you an opinion about it right away.”

Mike Vidikan of the Washington, D.C.-based organization Innovaro, which provides insights about how new technologies will shape the future business environment, expects that Glass also could significantly change how consumers shop for kosher food.

“As they start inspecting a particular group of foods,” he explained, “notifications could pop up with information about the kosher certifications, as well as reviews, and who in their social networks recommend it.”

In education, where information technology already is transforming the classroom experience, Glass could be yet another game-changer. Hebrew school classes could tour Israel virtually, seeing the country though the eyes of a guide equipped with the device. Students in various locations could participate in classes together, following text as seen through the eyes of a teacher.

Cohen, who teaches at a public school in central New Jersey, plans to develop an application that will help him learn his students’ names.

“I don’t remember all the names of my students during the first weeks of school,” he said. “I want to be able to look at them and have their names overlapped on top.”

Despite the enthusiasm, tech experts from Jewish day schools are skeptical. Price is one factor. At $1,500, Glass is significantly more expensive than an iPad or similar devices.

Educators also are understandably uneasy about a device that can snap pictures, literally, with the wink of an eye. Others point out that since Glass’ apps are still being developed, its educational value remains to be seen.

“In a traditional classroom, I don’t see where wearing the computer on my face is an enormous quantum leap in ease of use, efficiency and productivity over traditional computer modalities,” said Seth Dimbert, director of educational technology at the ScheckHillelCommunitySchool in North Miami Beach, Fla.

“It’s actually less useful if only I can see a computer screen. Classrooms are about collaboration with the people around you and making screens bigger and more portable, so more people can gather around them at once.”

Rabbi Tzvi Pittinsky, director of educational technology at The Frisch School in Paramus, N.J., expressed doubts as well.

“Teenagers are freaked out by Google Glass,” he said. “Who would want to have these glasses on all the time? It’s scary.”

Ultimately, however, many believe that it’s just a matter of time before Glass becomes more widely accepted. Many technologies now considered indispensable were greeted initially with skepticism.

“If people adopt it at the rate that they adopted smartphones,” Schwartz predicts, “then it will have a huge impact on Jewish life.”

This article was written by Yaffa Klugerman for JTA.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Can Google Glasses Help Your Rabbi Decide if the Etrog is Kosher?”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
The White House will free Pollard but bar him from traveling to Israel for five years.
US Won’t Let Pollard Out of Country for Five Years
Latest News Stories
Pope John Paul II and Chief Rabbi of Rome Elio Toaff

The exhibition “A blessing to one another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People,” opened on Tuesday in the Vatican.

Best Western Eretz Copacabana

Rio De Janeiro’s Jewish community will open two synagogues to accommodate Jewish visitors at the 2016 Olympics.

2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin

Israel said the report is “fundamentally flawed in its methodologies, in its facts, in its legal analysis and in its conclusions,” and one-sided, bringing “into serious question Amnesty’s professional standards.”

Donald Trump

“I think what Mike has done has hit a nerve and he’s made people think a little bit.”

The Prime Minister approved construction of the homes after the High Court ordered demolitions of homes under construction.

The White House said Pollard’s serious crimes’ preclude his being allowed to travel abroad.

“Those who were highly connected to Israel were more likely to perceive their campus environment as hostile toward Jews and Israel and to report being blamed for Israel’s action.”

In explaining the confidential agreement between the IAEA and Iran, Moniz recalled a similar one between the agency and South Africa in the early 1990s.

Israel’s Air Force allegedly eliminates child-killer Samir Kuntar in Syrian Golan Heights.

The film will be based on Martin Blank’s play “The Law Of Return,” about Pollard’s work for the US Navy, and the process of his becoming a spy.

Dreinoff House, Beit El, July 29, 2015. Photos by Hillel Meir / Tazpit News Agency.

The solar energy field of at Kibbutz Ketura cost $79 million and consists of 140,743 solar panels.

The suspects belonged to an infrastructure that tried to disrupt the May 2014 visit of Pope Francis.

At least two reliable sources reported that Mullah Omar, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, has died.

By noon Wednesday, Israeli forces were demolishing two buildings in Beit El.

Israeli, Lithuanian and American researchers have tracked down the remains of the Great Synagogue of Vilna.

More Articles from JTA

More than 20 cars and buildings in a Jewish community in north London were vandalized with swastikas. The Nazi symbol was drawn on approximately 27 cars in the Osbaldeston Road area of Stoke Newington on Sunday night, The Daily Mail reported. An unnamed 32-year-old man was arrested in connection with the vandalism Tuesday. The neighborhood […]

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind called on the Jewish community to attend the funeral of an assassinated New York police officer. “The brave men and women of the NYPD risk their lives every day to protect us. We value them and stand with them,” Hikind, a Democrat who represents Brooklyn, said in a statement […]

“Move Jew” scrawled on a Philadelphia home and slurs written on a synagogue and 10 garages in Chicago.

The Nazis nearly destroyed the 17th synagogue.

Cuba has “the largest pool of untapped baseball talent in the world, and Major League Baseball may tap and leave Cuba dry.

Argentina’s president Christina Fernandez has accepted an official Jewish godson for the first time in the country’s history to help counter legend of death to a seventh son. She described in seven tweets her meeting with her new godson, Yair Tawil, a member of a Chabad-Lubavitch family. He was adopted as a godson under a […]

A fundraising campaign started quietly by two first graders two years ago to help find a cure for a rare genetic disease just passed the $1 million mark.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/can-google-glasses-help-your-rabbi-decide-if-the-etrog-is-kosher/2013/06/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: