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We’ve gone beyond smart phones for some time now.  Google Glass and Apple iWatch appear to be coming soon.  As we know, the appeal of new hardware wanes quickly if there aren’t apps to make the device have unique purposes.  So what kind of applications can make wearable devices special? Well, the first consideration is that wearable devices won’t be as general purpose as a smart phone.  Their context will depend on where the device is worn, and probably which of our senses they are designed to interact with.  Eyewear applications will want to exploit their proximity to our eyes, both to look at our eye movements, and provide or change the subject that we view.  I do wonder if eyewear devices will ever be able to correct my colour blindness, and show me colours exactly how most people see them. The watch / wrist device isn’t as obvious to exploit as there’s no direct sensory organ nearby.  Telling the time just isn’t enough; nor is showing where you are, the weather forecast there, or when your phone is communicating.  However, I do suspect that with embedded NFC abilities, the speed of interacting with payment terminals, public transport gates, and swapping small files with other smart devices, applications will be easy to find. Of course wearable means any portable device that can be carried on one’s self.  It should also mean any collection of sensors that integrate with the device, thus introducing new(ish) data types like temperature, atmospheric pressure, specific odours.  You can imagine medical / health applications that would justify the development of such devices.  These could be worn as a part of, or could replace belts, gloves, rings, necklaces, or just embedded into the pockets or linings of clothing. I have concentrated on hardware side of technology as we already know how to communicate between portable devices and backend processing systems.  There could be massive data consolidation required at the backend system, to give rapid feedback to the wearable device, but we know that is all possible.  So while I’m contemplating all this new or future technology, I am reminded from an article that I read recently, that sometimes it’s simply enough to find a funny reason to pursue a new direction in technology. Halloween came recently, and I read this article  http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-57606726-233/put-your-smartphone-at-the-center-of-a-horror-tastic-halloween-costume/  .  OK, the URL reveals the subject, and it is a funny read.  But it did make me want to investigate and think about wearable technology in general.  One day we probably will be developing serious business apps for wearable devices.

2 Comments

  1. We all know that the adult entertainment industry was responsible for the success of the VCR and the DVD. Imagine what they can do when combining the Google glasses with a device worn on a lower part of the body. Their potential for huge sales will make the price for the devices go down, thus opening up a market for more socially acceptable consumer electronics. Such as satellite navigation in your glasses. And from there it is a small step to using glasses for order picking in a warehouse...where you can use all that data that is in your Uniface applications.
  2. Surely there will be a development of these technologies for funny (games, videos, etc.), or to useful applications (medical, financial, etc). As always, the market will decide, that is where you make money. If we look at today, what drives this market is the acquisition of user information to be exploited for commercial purposes, will not change much in the coming years. With regard to business applications for the moment are somewhat doubtful, however, only a few can get an idea of ​​what the future will decide driving the  people, and we look forward to, or not?