At Holmes, we always try to embrace technology, whether it’s simply reading about the next great thing or implementing an upgraded software or piece of equipment into our workflow. There is a rapidly growing trend, literally bringing technology closer to us than ever before, and it peaked our interest as we let our minds wander about the possibilities and our future as a creative company.
Wearable technology is taking computers one-step further and bringing them to our eyes, wrists, skin and more. The history of this category of gadgets is related to the idea of ubiquitous computing, a concept where technology is woven into the threads of everyday life, first used by Xerox Palo Alto Research Center’s former Chief Scientist, Mark Weiser in 1988.
The first widespread piece of wearable electronics was a calculator watch, introduced by Pulsar and Hewlett Packard in 1975. Then in the early 1980s, researcher and inventor Steve Mann who has been called the “father of wearable computing” began exploring the design of a multimedia computer worn as a backpack. Mann developed several concepts of wearable computers over the next two decades, some shown in the image below.
Although light up clothing like an LED dress worn by singer Katy Perry in 2010 can be classified as wearable technology, most products being developed today have a greater purpose in mind: to make as much of life easier to access and use as possible.
Google Glass is perhaps the most known wearable technology product today, both due to backing by Google and well promoted plans for public distribution in 2014. Many companies have created apps specifically for Glass that are rapidly broadening the eyewear’s potential. Gaming apps are in the works including one called Glass Battle that allows users to play and track a Battleship-like game, without breaking from their daily life. On the other end of the spectrum, apps that can aid in life saving have also been introduced. The CPRGLASS app, developed by an Arkansas medical doctor, can analyze the pulse of a victim, play music that guides you in correct CPR compressions, measure your CPR progress, all while contacting 911 and locating nearby hospitals. It is yet another app that demonstrates the need for hands-free computing as a way for the web to interact with the real world.
Smart watches are also becoming more prevalent representations of wearable technology. The Pebble , an e-paper watch for iPhone and Android became available in Best Buy Stores earlier this month, Sony’s version shown above can be ordered on numerous online sites, and the Androidly , a watch that replaces your smart phone instead of accompanying it, can be preordered on the product site. A kid friendly smart watch option called Filip features GPS and Wi-Fi to offer location tracking, 2-way phone calling, safe zone alerts and an emergency button. Apple has also taken steps to register trademarks for an iWatch product, and hired Paul Deneve, former President and CEO of the Yves Saint Laurent Fashion House for “special projects” that are speculated to involve luxury goods and wearable devices.
Despite the fact that most wearable technology available today involves either a head-mounted display or a wrist-mounted user interface, there are also more unique concepts breaking new ground. Researchers have developed a contact lens with Google Glass-like capabilities. It has been tested on rabbits with no negative effects after 5 hours of testing. Temporary tattoos are also being used to provide data taken from your skin. One variation monitors chemicals in sweat to gauge physical exertion, something that previously could only be tested with a finger prick. A great deal of this type of technology is pushing into health and medical fields as well. Pressure Therapy Jackets are being researched for people with sensory processing challenges because the jackets are discreet and always accessible.
Technology is exciting. However, it is pushing forward at a pace most of us struggle to keep track of, and each new development comes with fears of a lack of privacy or safety. Because Holmes is a smaller company, we feel comfortable in our flexibility to try new technologies without feeling pressured, at a pace that best suits us. We love seeing all of the shiny new things that the great innovators of our time present to the public, and we enjoy learning and trying to stay ahead of what’s next in our industry. However we always put ample thought into every decision to pursue new technology within our company. It’s important to keep in mind things that will benefit you while also benefitting your clients.
More Interesting Information About Wearable Technology: http://gigaom.com/2013/07/16/biosensor-tattoo-monitors-sweat-to-gauge-physical-exertion/ http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/29/if-you-must-wear-your-tech-try-to-not-look-like-an-idiot/ http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/14/google-glass-review-uk_n_3441696.html