March 5, 2012

Attached to technology: wearable computers

Posted by: in North America

In the not-so-distant future, we may very well be wearing computers. The blog 9 to 5 Google reports that the Google [x] Glasses project involves glasses with a built-in camera and a heads-up display (described in Wikipedia as “any transparent display that presents data without requiring users to look away from their usual viewpoints”). They’re under way at Google X, the secret lab where Google is developing its driverless car and other futuristic ideas. The glasses would perform many of the same functions as a smartphone, according to The New York Times—e.g., relaying data via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to the cloud, then using Google Goggles to search images and Google Maps to show what’s nearby. Reportedly, the specs could launch late this year for several hundred dollars.

Apple is also experimenting with wearable computers, according to The New York Times’ Nick Bilton, who reported back in December about ideas like a “curved-glass iPod that would wrap around the wrist.” And at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Motorola showed off a head-mounted mobile PC dubbed the Kopin Golden-i. Head gestures and speech control the device, which is envisioned for industrial use.

Whether worn on the wrist or their head, smartphone technology could become even more integrated into our lives, helping to drive a trend we’ve termed Worlds Colliding: the increasing merging and blending of the physical and digital realms. More immediately, and more mass-market, we’re seeing the advent of Smart Clothing (one of our 100 Things to Watch in 2012), garments that help wearers monitor their bodies.

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