When the Internet first appeared, Ed Skimin, responding to a gut feeling about its potential, co-founded the software development company Emerge Inc.
He jumped in again when he noticed a trend of electronic wearables.
“I’m a big fan of disruption and changing the status quo,” said Skimin, a Lorain native whose business is in Avon Lake.
In late February, Skimin and 8,000 others won Google’s #ifihadglass competition and was invited to partake in Google’s Explorer Program. The program offered the winners, chosen based on their tweets about why they wanted to participate, a pre-release pair of Google Glass.
Glass, as it is known by its users, is a wearable computer with Internet and GPS capabilities, all of which are overseen by Google. But it is not a mobile device — the product is worn as a pair of glasses without prescription lenses.
Through voice-recognition and occasionally physical finger direction, the product’s wearer can snap photos, read emails, surf the Web — and look up linguistic translations, Skimin’s favorite feature.
“It’s quicker to use and amazingly light,” Skimin said. “Instead of reaching into a pocket, it’s just there in front of you.”
Skimin, who has always been fascinated by technological development, applied to participate in the program with hopes of working toward a future of wearables.
“I think this is the beginning of the next wave of Internet technology,” Skimin said.
Skimin, who just received his Glass this past week, is spearheading Emerge Inc.’s project to develop compatible software for wearables. Then, if the devices become popular, his company, as well as the others who have
pre-release Glass, will be ahead of the game.
“We’re playing with ideas for apps to figure out what would be unique, different and useful,” said Skimin, who invites his curious colleagues to play with the new device.
As of now, employees at Emerge Inc., which helps parks improve their mobile and website software among other endeavors, have found the product’s hands-off capabilities most innovative.
“It’s useful for taking photos or navigation while driving, hands-free,” said Emerge’s senior Web developer, Sam Green, who was skeptical at first of Glass’ functionality because of its size. “There’s no experience like it.”
Skimin enjoys taking “authentic” photos of his children, not posing as they do when a camera is present, but behaving naturally. However, he describes the device as somewhat passive and easy to forget about, even when wearing it. Skimin added that he’ll ignore Glass’ alerts when engaging with someone.
“I imagine there will be a phase when everyone thinks they’re being videotaped,” Skimin said. “Eventually, we’ll establish acceptable social norms.”
Of course, Glass particularly comes in handy when debating at the dinner table.
“I could get the sports statistics faster than anyone pulling their phone out,” Skimin said.
Contact Elizabeth Kuhr at 429-7144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.