Reboot Your Suit

Discussion
Mar 31, 2010
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Forget about the iPad. That’s so next week or the week after.

Forget about
the new iPhone that will run on Verizon’s wireless network. That’s so later
this year if the rumors are true.

No, when you think Apple, think, as Fast Company suggests, "something
weird, and yet nerdishly cool at the same time." Think wearable computers.
That’s right. Steve Jobs and company have gone out and hired a senior prototype
scientist who is a freak for computers as clothing.

Richard DeVaul is a new hire at Apple who describes his own expertise in
the area of "product development for mobile & wearable technology" on
his LinkedIn profile, according to the Fast Company report.

Apple, as you would expect, is not going all public with what Dr. DeVaul is
doing for the company. 

Carl Howe, director of anywhere research at the Yankee Group, told MacNewsWorld that
it’s not likely we’ll be seeing wearable computers hitting the broad consumer
market in the near future. "The key is to have the wearable computer
do enough for you that you’re willing to put up with the inconvenience of
wearing it all the time and recharging it," he said.

Discussion Questions: Do you see a future for wearable computing devices?
What possible applications do you see for the technology in either the business
or consumer markets?

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13 Comments on "Reboot Your Suit"


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Liz Crawford
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

I was disappointed that the poll only offered 5 years or less as the earliest choice!

We already wear computers. Consumer receptivity is in place. The earliest form of wearable computing was probably a pocket watch, then a wristwatch, then an iPod. Purses and jackets now come with dedicated pockets for cellphones, and half the commuters in the airport are wearing earbuds.

I bet it won’t be too long before we have some cool-looking device on our shoulder or arm, probably detachable. It could even be a “patch” as screens are now flat and flexible. I could see branded fashion patches (say, Michael Kors). Why not?

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
11 years 1 month ago

Sounds like it has possibilities for increased revenues for today’s dry cleaning business which could evolve into a dry cleaning/electronic recharging business model.

Hopefully being constantly “charged up” electronically won’t affect the natural chemistry of one’s human body.

Max Goldberg
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

There will be wearable computers in the future. They will be built into clothing and accessories. They will be charged through the natural movement of the human body.

If you think of a smart phone as being a computer, you can see that this technology is not far off, is not cumbersome and could be relatively easy to develop. MIT’s Media Lab has been playing around with this for years, and presented an amazing device two years ago at the TED conference that cost less than $300 to build. You can see a video about it here: Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demo SixthSense

Marge Laney
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

My husband always quips that “the three of us are going to dinner; me, my wife and her BlackBerry.” I don’t know if my marriage could endure me and my computer! I can also visualize pods of people in airports standing around plugged into quick charging devices. And could this finally be the tech pixy dust that retailers have always wanted to sprinkle on customers as they enter their stores so they can follow and record their every move? Or maybe it will just help me remember what I went into the garage for…that right there would be worth the price of admission.

John Boccuzzi, Jr.
Guest
John Boccuzzi, Jr.
11 years 1 month ago

The technology already exists and just needs to be expanded to other applications. As a marathon runner and avid cyclist, I wear a watch (wrist computer) that tracks my speed, distance, calories burned, heart rate, GPS, date, time and a bunch of other information I don’t currently use.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

How many of us would have predicted the speed of adoption of today’s technology? In 1977, a CEO of a major computer company saw no need for anyone to have a computer on their desk.

So with that in mind, I make no predictions other than whatever will happen will happen faster than anticipated. And, wherever it goes, I hope it allows me to use it despite by terribly clunky fingers.

Bill Bittner
Guest
Bill Bittner
11 years 1 month ago

I just feel sorry for the poor kid standing on the street corner with their friends when mom activates the “paging collar” to call them home.

Benjamin Smith
Guest
Benjamin Smith
11 years 1 month ago
I’ve seen the future 🙂 I have a wearable computer in the form of my Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS watch that I use for running.  It doesn’t have a color LCD or large screen, but it does have multiple, customizable screens of data I scroll through during my run.  Then you also have the Apple+Nike people running with their iPods / iPhones.  iPhones in particular, strapped to your arm during a run can act as a GPS and add better mapping capabilities – especially if you are running in a new area.  The added function you get from the Garmin or the Nike+Apple is well worth the minimal hassle. The only catch is that it can be expensive. It seems like wearable computing is all about proximity to your eyes.  Running watches work because you can bring your wrist forward to glance at it, and adjust it/scroll with your other hand.  I have a hard time making dramatic leaps of what other forms “wearable” computing could take. I’ll save that for Hollywood and the product… Read more »
Cathy Hotka
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

It will be fun to revisit this story in ten years when mobile technology will have exploded. We can’t even imagine how ubiquitous this will be.

Doug Stephens
Guest
Doug Stephens
11 years 1 month ago

It already exists…

Here are some links to various augmented reality programs that are available in a wearable form, including a video from Engadget.com

The future is NOW.

Augmented Reality Devices: See the Online World While Walking the Real One

MIT’s “sixth sense” augmented reality device demonstrated on video

Doug Fleener
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

I just hope they do a Hawaiian shirt version. Sort of a Tommy Gighama.

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
11 years 1 month ago

Will they have the collars from The Running Man?

Herb Sorensen
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

I gave my Garmin Forerunner its first real test on trails today. But it won’t be very useful in the shopping world because, like GPS in general, it’s of little value once you are in the store. I do think that there will likely be something like a Bluetooth ring that will allow you to “write” in the air, or maybe even type on a projected keyboard. Lots more advances in human interfaces coming – and some will have a major impact in the shopping world. Hard to know just what will and won’t at this point.

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