29 Oct 2013
Wearable technology has been in the background for some time yet, but has still to really make it into the limelight. This year may be set to change that with the emergence of Google Glass, Apples rumoured iWatch and Samsung’s already released Galaxy Gear smartwatch. This is alongside other already wearable mainstream technology such as glorified pedometers by FitBit and Nike+. It appears quite clear that wearable tech has been identified by industry as the next market ready for significant growth.
But is Google Glass and other such technology really destined to be the next big thing?
Wearable technology will require humans to adapt their behaviour. They are designed to be in the background of our day to day lives, away from out immediate attention. Which is a paradigm switch to how we overtly engage with our smartphones and laptops nowadays.
Georgia Tech professor Thad Starner, who advises Google on its glasses, says the following: “It seems like a paradox, but when you pull the technology closer to your body, there’s a seamless interaction, it’s more an extension of yourself”.
Then there are social and cultural issues. There are concerns from privacy groups about people being surreptitiously videoed or photographed. We already keep devices on our person at all times that monitor our location, and we give permission to a large number of apps and web services to collect and share our personal information. However, Google Glass works on eye movements which are mainly subconscious. It will be collecting, sending and receiving information when you are not even thinking about it.
So will these concerns lead to the product being banned in certain places? Google Glass has already been banned from all casinos and for use when driving in the UK.
However in its favour, by the time Glass hits the consumer market in 2014, the price is expected to be in the more affordable range of $300 to $500. Perceived product shortcomings in areas such as a short battery life and poor audio clarity might be improved.
It is still to early to say how mainstream Google Glass will become. Either way, It will be fascinating to see whether consumers embrace Google Glass and other wearable tech that is being developed.
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