Nightly News   |  November 13, 2013

Navigating the world with Google Glass

Google Glass apps are making a big impact on people with disabilities. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.

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>>> finally tonight by now you have seen the google glasses, on officially called google glass. it allows you to have your computer on in front of your eye. while they are not for everyone, they have turned out to be a life-changer for some folks. we get the story tonight from nbc's kristen dahlgren.

>> reporter: a weekend in the woods.

>> awesome.

>> reporter: something alice never thought she'd see again. the promising law student was on her way to a camping trip three years ago when a car accident left her paralyzed.

>> do you feel okay?

>> mm-hmm.

>> reporter: she's part of a pilot program for google glass. the tiny wearable computer is helping her and other people with disabilities navigate their world. even go camping.

>> i can't set up a tent and i can't build a campfire. if we need to figure out how to do it, i can certainly look it up now.

>> 600 feet, turn left .

>> reporter: glass's hands-free display and voice activated software allow her to get directions, snap photos --

>> take a picture.

>> reporter: -- or look up information.

>> are there bears in the catskills?

>> this is stuff you wouldn't have been able to do.

>> no. it's exciting that i get to do it.

>> reporter: when she went home to see her ailing grandfather, she was able to record her polish grandparents talking about their family history. glass is being used for other disabilities, too. 11-year-old thomas nelson is deaf. the all honors student is learning new words every day. his mom wants to keep up. with an app called smartsign she can.

>> when you are communicating with a deaf person it's rude to be like, hold on. then you have to look something up at a computer. it would be cool to search a word real quick and sign it to them then and there.

>> reporter: in california, a facial recognition app is being developed to help people with autism who can have trouble identifying other people's emotions. as for alex, she's back at columbia law school .

>> the more i can forget about what i can't do and the more i am focused on what i can do, the less i think of myself as a disabled person.

>> all right, guys. camping photo time.

>> reporter: starting to see the world in a new light.

>> okay, glass, take a picture.

>> reporter: kristen dahlgren, nbc news, bartlett,