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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with ogling Google.

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MONTAGNE: Google Glass is the company's digital interactive eyewear. It's been in the works for a while, and as NPR's Steve Henn reports, Google is now inviting members of the public to try them out. But there's a catch. To get a pair you have to win a contest by coming up with creative uses for the gadget - and then you'll have to hand over some cash.

STEVE HENN, BYLINE: Nothing makes people want something quite as much as a velvet rope that's holding them back - at least that seems to be Google's thinking when it comes to promoting its high-tech augmented reality glasses called Google Glass.

This week, Google released a video showing ballerinas, sky divers, kids, trapeze artists and hot air balloonists filming their lives hands free - from a first person perspective - and they did all this simply by talking to their glasses.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: OK glasses, take a picture.

HENN: Now Google says 8,000 pairs of these interactive augmented reality glasses are going to be sold to the public for $1,500 a pop. But first you have to win the right to buy this gadget by telling Google what kinds of wonderful and creative things you'll do with them first.

GISLI OLAFSSON: I would use them to find ways to augment information for disaster responders worldwide.

HENN: Gisli Olafsson at Net Hope helps disaster responders incorporate new technologies. Communicating hands-free in a disaster area is a big plus.

OLAFSSON: Exactly.

HENN: Google Glass could be perfect. But not all the responses posted online have been as high-minded - some of the most popular have been sadly predictable.

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HENN: Cat videos. Steve Henn, NPR News, Silicon Valley.

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