Researchers at the University of Central Florida have pitted traditional texting against voice texting using Google Glass and – surprise! – the face computer is just as distracting while driving.
The crew from UCF put 40 twenty-somethings into a simulator and tasked them with texting about a math problem using either smartphones or Glass. When they weren't expecting it, the car ahead slammed on the brakes, and their reaction times were recorded.
"When you look at how fast people react to an unexpected traffic event – how fast they slam on their brakes, we didn't find a statistically significant difference between Google Glass and smartphones," said Ben Sawyer, a psychological researcher at the University of Central Florida.
The only advantage Sawyer and his team discovered with Glass is that the drivers recovered faster compared to their smartphone wielding counterparts. But cognitive load is the larger issue. Just because you're using your voice and not your thumbs to send a message doesn't make it any lessen the distraction, one of the reasons why a handful of states and a few countries are considering banning Glass behind the wheel.
"Looking does not necessarily mean you are seeing," told Reuters, but he's also hopeful that some of the technology that Glass employs could make for less distracting solutions for drivers.