The Future of Wearable Technology

The Future of Wearable Technology

This is an interesting article about how general public think of different wearable technologies out there.

While wearable devices interweave technology into everyday life, making technology pervasive and the interaction with it frictionless, there are some obstacles to widespread acceptance of wearable technology.

Power: Wearable devices still need to be charged, so you remain a slave to your charger station. Most current wearable devices only work in conjunction with your smartphone, which means at least two devices must be charged. When the two sync, they’ll drain even more power. And power management will be a critical issue with wearable devices. All the “low power” warning signals might overwhelm that marathon meeting when you intended to lock the door until the job was finished. Perhaps Nikola Tesla will still teach us a thing or two about powering these devices via skin conduction from a central power unit, which might be housed in your shoe and powered by simply walking.

Theft: If your wearable device is going to fulfill its obvious role as the key to your digital life, you’ll want to be able to limit who can use it. How soon will we get voice detection that is genuinely secure? How soon will we get a fingerprint reader that can’t be hacked? (You probably read the claim by the German group that they bypassed the iPhone 5S’s fingerprint scanner on Apple’s first day of record-breaking sales of the phone.)

Privacy: This has already become an issue surrounding Google Glass, and these products have yet to hit the market. How will you feel around someone wearing them, knowing they might videotape everything you do and say? Should they be banned from restrooms, locker rooms, boardrooms, and bedrooms? Will the police or a victim be able to subpoena your personal video if they think you saw something unlawful? Technology now makes it possible for your mate to watch everything you do. What about hackers who find their way into your wearable mobile hub and have access to all the images flowing through the device?

Functionality: There are already complaints about the functional limits of many of these devices. They will need to be more flexible in the future to accommodate a variety of sensors to measure vital signs and whatever’s going on in the wearer’s vicinity.

Too much info: While sensors now are focused primarily on giving you more information about your life, it will not be long before technology worn by others will be able to gather information about you. Would you want someone to monitor your pulse rate changes to see if you were stretching the truth a little? How will you be able to build a data or sensor firewall around personal technology?

The miniaturization of computers that you can wear on your body for a variety of functions took another quantum leap recently when Stanford engineers moved beyond silicon chips to build a basic computer using carbon nanotubes. This eventually means smaller, faster devices with more capability and the possibility of introducing computers inside your body, not just hanging on the outside.

Just as smartphones moved technology and communications off of the desktop and into your hand, there is every reason to expect that wearable technology will eventually replace smartphones. While having the Internet in your hand seems like a miracle now, to our kids–who may see it from glasses or hide it in their jewelry and operate it with just a few gestures–physical texting and pushing a button to receive a phone call will be so “last century.”


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