The RustyBrick brothers have struck again. In keeping with the times, Barry and Ronnie Schwartz, known for their Jewish iPhone and iPad Jewish apps, have developed an app for Google Glass. The lightly named JewGlass hopes to take 21st-century observance to the next level, bringing information to life for users literally before their eyes.
JewGlass will deliver customized Jewish information such as sunset times, directions to nearby synagogues and Hebrew translations. It also will provide information related to Jewish learning, such as the Torah portion of the week or the day’s Daf Yomi, and detect nearby kosher restaurants.
RustyBrick has made a name for itself in the Jewish app market, offering quirky and personalized products for the observant Jews who dabble in the iWorld. In 2011, Stephanie Butnick profiled the brothers, who run a “modest web-development company with some higher concerns.”
The Schwartz brothers are tech-savvy Modern Orthodox Jews, which makes them well-positioned to forecast their customers’ desires. “Anything we find useful that we want in our phone, we’ll develop,” Barry Schwartz said. RustyBrick’s 25 Jewish apps include an iPhone Siddur, an iPhone Tanach, and a Shabbat app that provides candle-lighting times and has been downloaded more than 400,000 times. RustyBrick’s shofar app—a simple, free, and, it must be said, completely irritating application that plays the four distinct shofar sounds, was downloaded thousands of times in the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah last year, Barry said.
No word on whether you can wear Glass has a Shabbat setting. Meanwhile, writer Gary Shteyngart reports in this week’s New Yorker that his dystopian 2010 novel, Super Sad True Love Story, is basically coming true. How does he know? He won a Twitter contest to become a Glass Explorer, and tried out the hi-tech specs, of course:
The first drafts of “Super Sad” had a technology called The Eye, which was basically an äppärät inside a contact lens. My editor suggested that it was a little much, and it certainly was in 2008, at a time when even the first iterations of the iPhone seemed like they were beamed back to our world from some glorious future civilization in Cupertino. By 2013, having a miniature screen above my right eye tell me all about “Ashton Kutcher’s new job” feels about right.
Glass has certainly sparked a lot of different imaginations—it’s already been used to make “point of view” pornography—and, thanks to the RustyBrick brothers, now it can help people who just want directions to the nearest synagogue.
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