In this week’s 6 Minute English: ‘Wearable tech’, or technology you can wear, is one of the newest areas in the world of computing.
Google has released a controversial product which works like a smartphone, but is worn on your face like a pair of glasses.
Finn and Neil discuss Google Glass and other wearable tech in the programme.
This week’s question:
In which action movie (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger) did a character have special eyes that were like computers which gave information about the world around him?
b) The Terminator
c) Total Recall
Listen out for the answer at the end of the programme.
Finn: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English, I’m Finn and with me is Neil.
Finn: And, we have a technology theme today – Neil, you carry a smartphone, don’t you?
Neil: Yes – my phone can take photos and search the internet, I can watch videos, send messages and even… hang on (phone rings)
Finn: Even make phone calls?
Neil: Sorry about that.
Finn: Very good. And – I can see that you are wearing a very fine pair of glasses.
Neil: Why thank you. They do make me quite… handsome, don’t you think?
Finn: Of course. But how would you like to combine the two things – put them together?
Neil: Combine my smartphone and glasses?
Finn: That’s what Google hope people will do. Their new product Google Glass is a kind of small computer you wear on your face.
Neil: Yes, several companies are now developing wearable tech – that’s technology you can wear – just like my glasses. With Google Glass, when you wear them you can see the real world, as normal, but also a small kind of computer screen, hanging in space…
Finn: Interesting, isn’t it? And it makes me think of an action movie. Neil, which action movie character had special eyes that were like computers – giving information about the world around him?
Neil: That’s a difficult question. I’m not sure, science-fiction is not my favourite type of movie. I will say, though, Terminator.
Finn: Ok, you’re not a science fiction fan. We’ll find out at the end of the programme if that was right. First, let’s take a closer look at these specs – or glasses – themselves.
Neil: We don’t have a pair, but our BBC colleague Rory Cellan-Jones went to Google to try a pair out. Listen carefully – which three different things does he do with them?
BBC technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones: Ok Glass. Take a picture! There, I’ve got a picture of the cameraman. I’m going to go back. OK Glass. Let’s record a video. I’m now recording everybody that’s in this room. And I’m going to stop that. How do I say ‘thank you for the flowers’ in Japanese? Hana arigatou gozaimashita. Excellent, so I can now speak Japanese via these glasses.
Finn: So, which different things did Rory Cellan-Jones do?
Neil: Did you hear them? Number one – he took a picture:
BBC technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones: Take a picture!
Finn: Number two – he recorded a video:
BBC technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones: Let’s record a video.
Neil: And three…
BBC technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones: How do I say ‘thank you for the flowers’ in Japanese?
Neil: He learned how to say a phrase in Japanese.
Finn: Very good, yes. Neil, I know you speak Japanese, what was the phrase?
Neil: Oh right. It was: hana arigatou gozaimashita.
Finn: Wonderful pronunciation.
Google Glass: Hana arigatou gozaimashita.
Finn: Which means ‘thank you for the flowers’. But anyway let’s get back to English!
Neil: With all the things these glasses can do, some people find them creepy – a bit strange and scary.
Finn: Yes, because you can use them while walking along the street, for example, nobody will know what you’re doing, and some people are worried that they might be used to find out information about their private, or personal lives.
Neil: Some are concerned about drivers using the glasses – saying it could be dangerous when driving.
Finn: And casinos – places where people play games – like card games – to win money, are concerned they could be used to cheat. Anyway, what do you think about them Neil?
Neil: I have to say I don’t like the idea.
Finn: OK, why?
Neil: Because I like to be separate from technology sometimes. I’m worried that my brain will stop working if I have a computer on my head.
Finn: If there’s a computer in your head, you might become a cyborg, which is part man, part machine. Which takes me back to the question I asked you earlier, what was the name of the action movie where there was a character with a robot eye?
Neil: I said Terminator.
Finn: That was absolutely correct, very good. The Terminator with ‘Terminator vision’. So, what do you think of Google Glass and wearable tech in general? Let us know on the BBC Learning English Facebook page. Now, Neil, could you remind us of some of today’s language?
Finn: OK that’s it for this programme. Do join us again soon for more 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English.
smartphone: a phone that can be used as a small computer to do things like take photos and connect to the internet
to combine: to join two or more things together to become one new thing
wearable tech: technology you can wear
specs: (slang) glasses; short for ‘spectacles’
creepy: strange and scary
private: personal; only for one person or group
casino: a place where people go to gamble
cyborg: a being with both human and robot parts (‘cybernetic organism’)
6 Minute English – Computer glasses Transcript Video
Source: BBC Learning EnglishMore Series for You: