Google Glass: What began as an experiment in the notoriously secretive Google X research and development lab soon became the future of wearable technology. Google recently opened up its Glass Explorer pilot program to the general public, meaning yes, anyone (with $1500 to spare) can buy one! But many people remain unaware of what Google Glass can really do.

First, for all you hardware nerds out there, let’s take a look at Glass’ “tech specs” (sorry, couldn’t resist):

  • 12GB of usable memory (16GB Flash total)
  • 802. 11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
  • 5 megapixel camera
  • 720p video resolution

In this post, we’re going to explore five creative ways you can use Google Glass:

1. Break Down the Language Barrier

Ever wanted to take a vacation to an exotic destination overseas, but been put off by the language barrier? Well, with Glass, you can translate both spoken and written words on the fly.

Glass can translate printed words in a range of foreign languages, such as signage, making it easy for Explorers to make sense of their surroundings.

Similarly, third-party Glass apps such as UniSpeech provide translations of spoken words in near real-time, enabling Explorers to understand people who don’t speak their language.

Although these technologies are still relatively nascent, Google is aggressively pursuing its dream of providing users with the “Star Trek” computer, and natural language processing applications such as universal translation are an exciting development for keen travelers.

2. Go on a Field Trip

One of the best parts about traveling is discovering the rich wealth of fascinating facts about new places. However, exploring on your own can lead to missed opportunities, but who wants to wander around with a tour guide? Well, with Glass, you can embark on your own adventures with virtual insider tips from people who know your destination inside and out with Field Trip.

This augmented reality app provides Explorers with everything they need to know about their next vacation destination. Field Trip aggregates hundreds of articles, news stories, historical information, interactive tour guides and hidden gems to provide you with a glimpse into the real history of thousands of places. Everything from facts about a city’s architecture and landmarks to tips on the best local restaurants and must-see attractions is overlaid across your vision through the Glass interface, allowing you to explore the world in fascinating new ways.

3. Perfect Your Swing or Beat Your All-Time Best

I only run if I’m being chased, but apparently, there are people who like to run for fun. Weird. Anyway, if you’re into fitness, Glass can be an invaluable way to track your progress, push yourself to the limit, and even work on your handicap.

Several Glass apps are available for fitness fanatics. One of the most interesting is SwingByte, an app that allows you to improve your golf game through analysis of your performance. The app monitors your stance, swing, power and a range of other metrics to provide you with a detailed report on your technique, as well as course and weather conditions. Looks like you’ll need a better excuse if you end up in a sand trap.

Of course, golf isn’t for everyone. Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways you can use Glass as a virtual personal trainer. Apps such as Strava Cycle allow cyclists to set time trials for themselves, challenge friends to races, and track their performance along their favorite routes. Similarly, LynxFit functions as a personal training app that allows fitness enthusiasts to benchmark their performance, set goals and track their progress, try out new exercise regimens and more.

4. Experiment in the Kitchen

Cooking can be a lot of fun, but if you’re trying to follow a recipe while your hands are covered in various ingredients, turning the pages of a cookbook or using a cooking app can be problematic. Fortunately, Glass can help.

With the AllTheCooks app, Glass effectively becomes a head-mounted cookbook with interactive instructions on how to prepare a wide range of dishes. You can also search for new variants on classic meals and share your favorites with your friends and family.

Fortunately, AllTheCooks allows you to search for new recipes using Glass’ voice recognition technology, eliminating the need to touch the device altogether.

5. Conquer Your Commute

Okay, so our last example of ways you can use Google Glass isn’t exactly creative as such, but it’s likely to be one of the most common (and useful) ways that Glass will improve your life.

Glass is fully compatible with Google Now’s predictive search technology. Frequently compared to Apple’s Siri, Google Now is actually a much more capable and diverse virtual assistant program that allows Google to provide you with timely, relevant information as and when you need it. This is exceptionally handy for commuters who need up-to-the-second information about traffic conditions, road accidents, weather and anything else that could help them avoid sitting in gridlock for two hours.

With full Google Maps integration, Google Now’s real-time data can be used to plot alternate routes to avoid traffic congestion, plan more optimized paths between two places, and much more. Oh, and it can provide you with instantaneous updates on the score for the big game, so you don’t need to actively search for updates online.