Monday, December 19, 2011

In 10 years, we'll wear computers

By Nick Bilton, The new York Times,

PHOTO: The ultimate a version of (wearable computing) is a screen that would somehow augment our vision with information and media.

The invention of the smartphone has created a world where millions of people stroll through life constantly staring into a mobile device. I know: I'm one of them.

People are not going to put these devices down in the near future. Realistically, we will become only more absorbed.

Technology will have to solve this problem. It will do so by creating wearable computers.

Wearable computing is a broad term. Technically, a fancy electronic watch is a wearable computer.

But the ultimate version of this technology is a screen that would somehow augment ( increase) our vision with infomation and media.

PHOTO: Technology will have to solve this problem. It will do so by creating wearable computers.

Over the last year, Apple and Google have secretly begun working on projects that will become wearable computers.

Their main goal: to sell more smartphones.

In Google's case, more smartphones sold means more advertisements viewed.

In Google's secret Google X labs, researchers are working on peripherals that - when attached to your clothing or body - would relay information back to an Android smartphone.

People familiar with the work in the lab say Google has hired electronic engineers from Nokia Labs, Apple and engineering universities, who specialise in tiny wearable computers.

Apple has also experimented with prototype products that could relay information back to the iPhone.

PHOTO: Apple is also said to be playing with the idea of a wrist watch-style iPod that has a curved glass surface along with a Siri voice control interface.

These conceptual products could also display information on other Apple devices, like an iPod, which Apple is already encouraging us to wear on our wrists by selling nanos with watch faces.

A person with knowledge of the company's plans told me that a very small group of Apple employees had been conceptualising and even prototyping some wearable devices.

One idea being discussed is a curved-glass iPod that would wrap around the wrist. People could communicate with the device using Siri, the company's artificial intelligence software.

The brain that brings all these things together is the smartphone, which is really the first wearable computer.

Researchers note that the smartphone is almost never more than a metre away from its user. It is often just centimetres from the bed during the night and has replaced the alarm clock for many people.

As a result, the smartphone will be the hub for our information sharing and gathering.

Think of it as a force field that will engulf us wherever we are, transmitting power and Web access to sensors and screens tacked to our clothing.

Mr Michael Liebhold is a senior researcher specialising in wearable computing at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto in California.

PHOTO: Prototype transparent screens have already been demonstrated at technology shows - so the idea of 'wearable' computer glasses is not as out-there as it sounds

Over the next 10 years, he envisions that people will be wearing glasses with built-in sceens and, eventually, contact lenses with working displays.

PHOTO: According to the developers at Washington University, users could view floating emails and text messages as well as augment their sight with computer-generated images. They say it has been successfully tested on animals (presumably those with email accounts) and when problems such as finding a decent power source are ironed out it could be ready for market.

Fashion will most likely be one of the first disruptions. Imagine teenagers being able to design their own virtual clothing that others wearing heads-up displays can see.

Parents, teachers and friends could be shown entirely different outfits.

For example, I could look like a giant pink cat in a bustier to my friends, but my boss would see me in a fancy Italian suit. At least, I hope that's what he would see.

The alternative, I'm afraid, might call for a technological solution of its own.

By Nick Bilton, The new York Times,

Sony Concept Computer Lets You Wear It
PHOTO: Sony Concept Computer Lets You Wear It
Posted on June 7th, 2010 by Sohrab Osati
This Sony Computer Concept itself to be worn. Basically, it’s a slightly bigger watch that can stream data on its screen (potentially using Sony’s Flexible OLED screen?). The cool part happens once you’ve taken the watch off and laid it out on your desk. Then you have access to your apps, a pull out keyboard (and there are laser keyboards out there currently where just a light is shined on a area that shows a keyboard and you type away on it). Also note the projector system built into it. Many tech companies like LG are working on a built-in projector for smart phones. So who knows, maybe we will see this in 10 years. All I know is that if you hit the jump, you can see a ton more dazzling pictures.

我的字典: Wǒ de zì diǎn

Augment: 增加 - zēng jiā
Peripherals: 外围设备 - wài wéi shè bèi
Alarm Clock: 闹钟 - nào zhōng
Bustier: 紧身女胸衣 - jǐn shēn nǚ siōng yī

PHOTO: Push Button Love: The Game Controllers You Wish You Had

Computer Wear, Bikini Controller
PHOTO: Computer Wear, Bikini Controller