Technology

Google Glass is Music to Our…Eyes?

The Kansas City Symphony made history in January when it teamed up with Engage Mobile Solutions to perform Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony wearing Google Glass.

It not only was the first time the innovative technology was used to record the first-person perspective of four musicians in a professional orchestra, it also marked the most pairs used simultaneously for a coordinated activity outside of Google’s headquarters.

Google Glass is a wearable computer resembling a pair of futuristic-looking spectacles that enable users to navigate the Web, send text messages, take photos and shoot video in a hands-free format. Its applications are endless; it could be worn by a multitude of professionals ranging from police detectives to brain surgeons. However, the technology will not be available to the public until later this year, according to Google.

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Engage Mobile has been working with Google to explore unique applications for the product, which led to the KC Symphony project. The idea was to capture what four professional musicians experience while they’re performing. For instance, viewers watching the recorded video will observe how the symphony is played through the eyes of the violinist, witnessing how one hand presses the strings on the neck of the violin while the other hand navigates the bow, watching the commands of the conductor’s baton or even glancing down at the sheet music throughout the song. Elizabeth Schellhase Gray, second horn, Evan Halloin, double bass, and Heidi Han, second violin, along with renowned KC Symphony conductor and music director Michael Stern, recorded the practice session together.

Story by Kathryn Jones