University Part of Google’s Glass Explorer Program

Todd Anderson
Todd Anderson '14 interacts with IWU's Google Glass

March 6, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan is one of the first universities in the state to be accepted into Google’s Glass Explorer program, a test program that Google launched in 2013 to explore its latest innovation: a voice activated smart headset that displays information on the lenses of stylish eyewear.  Thanks to University Librarian Karen Schmidt, students and faculty can devise Glass Explorer projects to test the potential of this new device for Google.

Google Glass is similar to a smartphone in that it displays the current time and weather in your location, but can also look up the status of airline flight times, provide you with directions, answer your questions, translate your voice, take photos and record videos with the simple command: “OK, Glass” followed by a specific request.  The tiny computer is built into several styles of eyewear frames, and comes in five colors – charcoal, tangerine, shale, cotton and sky.    

Google, Inc. plans to release Glass for purchase by the general public later in 2014, but is currently seeking candidates for the Explorer Program, which Schmidt recently applied for. She said she was both surprised and happy to be selected, and after conferring with members of the campus community, she decided to accept the Glass and donate it The Ames Library.    

“The opportunity for our students to develop creative uses for Google Glass was too good to pass up,” said Schmidt. “The environment at IWU invites exploration and creativity among our students and faculty, and introducing Glass to our ‘campus laboratory’ seems like a natural fit.”    

Thus far, music and business administration double major Todd Anderson, ‘14, has used IWU’s Glass for research he has developed with Elisabeta Pana, associate professor of business administration.

“As Google Glass Explorers, we search for opportunities to use this cutting edge technology in higher education. We are excited that our ideas have been met with a lot of interest,” said Anderson.    

The Ames Library is currently working with the Office of the Provost to develop a process to invite and review ideas for usage of IWU’s Glass that might intrigue Google. According to Provost Green, Glass could prove to be a valuable tool for the group of faculty who are investigating a design initiative.    

For additional information regarding the Google Glass project, contact Schmidt at or (309)-556-3834.

Contact: Hannah Dhue, ’15, (309) 556-3181,