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A new app called GlassTesla combines Google Glass with driving the Tesla Model S electric car, as Erik Ortiz writes for the New York Daily News in the article, “Driving while wearing Google Glass: Could the futuristic device join handheld cell phones, texting as illegal?”

The GlassTesla app lets a driver start or stop his or her car’s electric charging, honk the horn, flash its lights, keep track of mileage and temperature, and find the vehicle’s location on a map, Ortiz writes. He reports that as of Saturday morning, 62 people had downloaded the app.

As Derek Markham writes for TreeHugger about the app, which is not an official Glass or Tesla app:

Because there aren’t too many of us that own a Tesla Model S, and even fewer Google Glass units around right now, Glass Tesla isn’t an app that makes sense for many people just yet. But it does show a possible next step in the evolution at the intersection of interactive and connected vehicles and wearable computing, and I get the feeling that we’re going to see a lot more of these types of applications in the near future.

Ortiz writes:

As state and local governments ban texting or using handheld cell phones while operating a vehicle, the advent of wearable computers is already on the radar of anxious legislators who think the new technology could lead to more accidents.

Lawmakers in West Virginia and Delaware have introduced bills banning such electronic devices, and safe driving advocates say it makes sense now to take up the issue — before the use of Google Glass and similar gizmos become commonplace.

This blog reported in March that West Virginia is the first state in the U.S. to consider a bill to ban the wearing of Google Glass while driving, and that the bill’s sponsor, Gary G. Howell, a Republican in that state’s legislature, believes that other states will do the same.

Although Google Glass is in limited release, it might be on the mass market next year, Ortiz writes. He adds: “The device allows users to make phone calls, send emails, take pictures and record video — tasks that can be done with simple hand movements and voice-operated commands.” The small display on the upper right side of the Google Glass headset requires the wearer to look up to see it, he notes.

Ortiz quotes Robert Rosenberger, assistant professor of philosophy at the Georgia Institute of Technology: “With Google Glass, not only is it another way to do hands-free calling, but if you’re throwing these other things up in front of you like text, you can be distracted by a text conversation even if you’re looking at the road.”

A person with the screen name “Casey1” posted the following comment below the NY Daily News article:

What have we become that we think we need to be connected every second of the day? Behind the wheel of your automobile certainly is not the time to be distracted, there are enough distractions as it is without phones and/or computers attached to our heads. Absolutely nothing is so important that can’t wait until a person is not moving around on roadways with other people. Nothing!

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