The Use of Smartglasses in Everyday Life : A Grounded Theory Study

Kessler, Timothy

We live in a mobile world. Laptops, tablets and smartphones have never been as ubiquitous as they have been today. New technologies are invented on a daily basis, lead- ing to the altering of society on a macro level, and to the change of the everyday life on a micro level. Through the introduction of a new category of devices, wearable computers, we might experience a shift away from the traditional smartphone. This dissertation aims to examine the topic of smartglasses, especially Google Glass, and how these wearable devices are embedded into the everyday life and, consequently, into a society at large. The current research models which are concerned with mobile communication are only partly applicable due to the distinctive character of smartglasses. Furthermore, new legal and privacy challenges for smartglasses arise, which are not taken into account by ex- isting theories. Since the literature on smartglasses is close to non-existent, it is argued that new models need to be developed in order to fully understand the impact of smart- glasses on everyday life and society as a whole. This study thus aims to close this research gap by embarking on a qualitative journey which explores the application of smartglasses in the everyday life. The qualitative grounded theory methodology has been used in order to find themes and patterns to understand how a total of 41 participants used these kind of devices over a period of one week. In order to gain a holistic view of the proposed topic, the partici- pants had to wear the devices and were later interviewed about their experience. They were asked about topics such as the alteration of communication, privacy, reality percep- tion, human-computer interaction, the perception of others and alike. Furthermore, the participants were asked to fill out a quantitative media diary throughout their time with the device, which provided an additional set of data which could later be used to verify some of the interview statements. Based on these findings, a model has been proposed which specifically explains the sit- uational use of smartglasses and their respective key influencers. The main outcomes however confirm that the usage of smartglasses is vastly diverging from the use of the smartphone and is highly situational. Since the main use of smartglasses is in public places, privacy issues for the individual as well as for the immediate surroundings arise, mainly due to the head worn camera and the constant location tracking. Adding to the notion of a new need for sensitization, new methods of input such as voice and gesture commands alter the way the technology is interacted with and provide an additional layer of complexity.

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Kessler, Timothy: The Use of Smartglasses in Everyday Life. A Grounded Theory Study. 2016.

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