The recent technological history has accustomed us to witness epochal changes that arise quietly and soon invade our lives, changing them forever. From the very first personal computers to the first cellphones, going through internet till the most recent smartphones and tablet. Looking out the window of progress, we ask ourselfes: what next?
Wearable technology is certainly the next step of this endless path.
Wearable technology is anything that you can attach, hang or fasten to the body and that interacts with the body or what you’re doing in various ways.
Forerunners were the guys from Google with their Google Glass. Announced, presented and finally ready to be marketed (apparently April 2014) should allow people to shoot ,call up information on the surrounding environment and so on. Those of WIRED U.S. tested them for six months and reviewed in a not exactly enthusiastic way. Price is very high (about 600 dollars), still few available apps, the battery does not last long enough and especially seems to generate a negative perception when worn in public. Therefor, analysts said it is only a matter of a few years and wearable technology will explode.
The simplest and most immediate applications are those related to fitness like elastic bands, bracelets and watches that when worn detect various data of the body and its movements becoming very useful partner for workouts and competitions. A little less obvious is JUNE’s Metatmo, a bracelet that detects the amount of UV radiation received and recommend the best way to protect yourself.
Speaking of videogames, the new revolution seems to be the virtual reality, thanks to the Oculus Rift, which is so promising that the startup has just recently been acquired by Facebook for 2 billion dollars. This visor is revolutionary because of the many new features and fine tunings, that allow the user to get a real sense of “presence” in the virtual world, and to feel emotions such as vertigo or fear for virtual threats.
To reach the holy grail of a perfect virtual reality experience, new gaming controls are needed, such as PrioVR, a system made up of sensors to settle on arms and legs to play Call of Duty or something like that in POV mode (Point of View). It looks cool, and do not risk you lose the controller and break through the flat screen.
Things change when the wearable devices start to communicate with the users mind. MICO for example is a type of headset able to read user’s mood and choose the most suitable playlist. We still don’t know if MICO can be programmed according to the user’s musical taste, since there are those who relaxes by listening to Mozart and those in need of Motorhead to crash.
Wearable technology has already filled the gap that used to separate it from the social world. From Japan (where else…) come Shippo and Necomini Tale, respectively wearable ears and tail, able to “talk” to our state of mind. Imagine how nice it would be to see your girlfriend’s furry hears stand up when you ring the bell to take her out for dinner, or when you’ll shake your tail angry and pissed when the waiter brings you the check.
Eventually we’ll have to face it: useful or useless, disturbing or completely idiotic, wearable technologies are making room in our lives and before we realize it we won’t go out without them anymore.