New Concepts in Wearables—the Future at Your Fingertips
It’s 2015, the year featured in Back to the Future Part II, and I see no hover boards, hologram billboards, or robot gas stations. It seems the filmmakers were a bit optimistic in 1989 regarding the speed of technology.
However, some of the concepts may not have been too unrealistic. Based on some interesting wearable prototypes and soon-to-be-funded ideas, it seems to me that “Doc” Brown would fit right in in the real 2015. Companies are already coming out with ideas for micro projectors, wristbands you can use to make phone calls, and more.
Take the Cicret Bracelet, for example. It’s a wristband that projects your phone screen onto your arm. With this device you can answer your phone, listen to music, browse the Internet, you name it—if your smartphone can do it, so can you, just by touching your forearm. Although it is currently only a concept, Cicret is raising the funds for a prototype. Only time will tell if this idea takes off or if the legions of hairy arms will be this idea’s undoing.
Another prototype, from the MIT media lab, is the Sixth Sense, a wearable projector and sensor that allows you to take photos with your fingers, project whatever you’re viewing onto another surface, and move the image around with a gesture. But that is just scratching the surface of this projector’s capabilities. Project manager Pattie Maes says in a TED Talk that Sixth Sense will have the capability to scan what you’re looking at to give you more information about the item in a projected format.
My personal favorite prototype in testing and product design right now is Fin, a gesture-based technology ring that allows you to access your smartphone, gaming system, camera, or any Bluetooth device by a wave of your thumb over your fingers. Touch your thumb to the tip of your pointer finger and turn on your Bluetooth speaker, or touch your thumb to the base of your pinky finger and start your car. You set the gestures with an app that accompanies it. This invention allows you access to all your smart devices literally at the tips of your fingers.
There are some concepts out there that are on the verge of making our world more convenient, dynamic, and wondrous. It’s software professionals like you who will change the future with the technology you create, develop, and release to the world.
At Mobile Dev + Test this April 12–17 in San Diego, I hope to get a better look at the Internet of Things and where speakers such as Noble Ackerson, Jason Snook, Chris Beauchamp, and more see the future of mobile and wearable technology. It’s going to a great experience, and I hope you can join us.