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Seeing the World Through Google-Tinted Glasses

Smartphone addicts everywhere will rejoice at Google’s latest portable technology innovation: reality-enhancing eyeglasses. The glasses are a product of Google X, the company’s secretive experimental research lab.

The specs function much like a smartphone or tablet computer, but without the extra bulk or the screen interface. Using voice-activation, they offer wearers the latest information pertaining to their surroundings, such as weather, transportation info, and directions to the nearest coffee shop. They even have a built-in camera that allows users to snap photos of interesting sights and to video chat with friends (watch concept video above to see them in action). According to the New York Times, the glasses could be on sale as early as next year, retailing for around the price of a new smartphone.

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Student Inventors: Manu Sharma

Manu Sharma and his innovative wind turbine

Ever dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur? If so, you’re in good company – over half of U.S. millennials (ages 18 to 34) say they want to start a business or already have done so, according to a recent survey from the Kaufmann Foundation. Even more exciting is the fact that nowadays, starting a business does not necessitate leaving school, as more and more universities are striving to accommodate entrepreneurial students.

In this new eGFI blog series, we bring you four inspiring stories of undergraduate engineering students who have successfully patented their original ideas, teamed up with classmates and professors to launch businesses, and navigated the startup world, all while keeping up with their coursework.

So step aside, Bill Gates – the days of dropout turned entrepreneur may be numbered.

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Trailblazer: Ayanna Howard

Science fiction stories have served as inspiration for many a brilliant engineer, and Ayanna Howard is no exception. At age 11 she discovered the show Bionic Woman, where a badly injured athlete is given artificial limbs that grant her superhero-like abilities, and decided that she wanted to create technologically advanced prosthetics when she grew up. Howard later realized that medical school held little appeal to her, and instead opted to pursue robotics.

It’s fortunate that she did. After completely her PhD in electrical engineering at the University of Southern California, Howard went on to work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she led research teams to develop software for Mars-roving robots.

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Touchscreens of the Future

Last year, a conceptual, futuristic video featuring interactive glass touchscreens went viral:

This video, called “A Day Made of Glass,” was created by Corning (a company that engineers glass and other materials) and now has been viewed over 17 million times on YouTube. Although the video is admittedly cool, just how realistic is its vision?

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Jump Shot: Panoramas Made Easy

As breathtaking as large, panoramic photos often are, the process of creating them is, to many photographers, a much less attractive prospect. While painstakingly stitching together images from a recent vacation, Technische Universität Berlin graduate Jonas Pfeil came up with a better idea: a spherical camera, called a camera-ball, that can take 360-degree panoramas in a single snap. Once the softball-sized sphere is tossed into the air, a built-in accelerometer tells when the ball has reached its zenith. Then a microcontroller triggers simultaneous action by 36 two-megapixel cellphone cameras, capturing a mosaic of images.

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