Sacramento Kings + Bitcoins + Google Glass = Win?

The Sacramento Kings made history yesterday after announcing they will  be accepting bitcoins for buying merchandise and tickets.  This positions the Kings as the only professional sports team to currently accept this popular online currency.  All transactions will be processed through BitPay, an electronic payment processing company with over 20,000 merchants.

Since its introduction in 2009, Bitcoin has been the subject of controversy.  On the one hand, this form of currency makes it easier for consumers and merchants to exchange payment for goods and services.  But there have also been cases of theft, black market ties, and criminal activities associated with it.  The value of one Bitcoin fluctuates, and currently one Bitcoin is worth $781 US dollars.  If the security and legality of this innovative currency can be ironed out, the Kings may just be the first of many professional sports teams to accept it.

The more exciting news in my opinion coming from the Kings is that on January 24, certain players, staff, mascots, announcers, and cheerleaders will be wearing Google Glasses for their game against the Indiana Pacers.  This initial foray into integrating the Glass at a sporting event will be more for the novelty.  Since it isn’t practical to actually play the game while wearing the device, I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of on-court action from the perspective of people on the bench and sidelines.  I’m also expecting more of the pre-game hijinks akin to the promo video the Kings released.

I envision a future where Google Glass or equivalent technology becomes more easily integrated into sports gear, allowing us first person views of athletes while competing.  Having such a powerful tool can enhance the fan experience, letting us see what a player sees on the court or field.  In addition, stat geeks can utilize it for analytical purposes, with possible advanced metrics derived from the data letting us measure player and team performances like never before.  Plus, this lets us armchair athletes step in the shoes of a LeBron throwdown or a Megatron touchdown catch.  Who wouldn’t want that best seat in the house?

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Google’s Smart Contact Lens Project

Google officially introduced the development of a new wearable technology that might one day help the more than 350 million people who have diabetes worldwide.  The smart contact lens they are currently testing utilizes tears instead of blood to measure glucose levels at a rate of once per second.  This would eliminate the need for intrusive finger pricking that diabetic sufferers have to endure on a daily basis to check their levels.

This innovative lens has a wireless chip and a glucose sensor in between two layers of soft contact material.  Google is considering adding LED lights to warn the user of potential fluctuations in their glucose levels.  This prototype is still several years away from being a reality as there are federal hoops to jump through and clinical trials to conduct.  But, this could be the start of a future where small wearables constantly monitor our health, leading to earlier detection and better management of diseases.

Official Google announcement