Wearable tech is Google Glass and smartwatches. What else you got?

Wearable tech is Google Glass and smartwatches. What else you got?

Summary: I hope that there's something more to wearable tech than just Google Glass and smartwatches. My guess is that there's not much more.


Yesterday, while reading rancid commentary and skipping stones around the web, I noticed that there's an actual trade show called, The Wearable Technology Expo. So far there are no exhibitors (or speakers) listed but how many can there be realistically? You have Google with Glass, Samsung with a smartwatch, and a gaggle..OK, a pod of others also with smartwatches. OK, there might be another company or two pimping some other type of eyeglass thingamajig but smartwatches and battery-powered eyeglasses doesn't provide enough fodder for a whole trade show. Oh, I forgot about the ever present wonderful world of bluetooth earpieces. Can't leave those out, now can we? Don't I wish that we could.

In my post, "Earth to Picard: Wearable tech is science fiction", I pointed out that most wearable tech has no place in the consumer market. I, personally, don't wish to drive on the same road as someone wearing a Google Glass thingy or a knockoff of the Glass. People in the town where I live have a difficult enough time just moving forward in traffic without any hindrances. They don't need any obstacles between themselves and their vehicle. Maneuvering around the ubiquitous orange cones is hazard enough.

I would however appreciate some wearable tech for those who run stop signs, who speed through school zones, and who don't move up enough in traffic to get more than three people through a green light. I envision a wearable device that delivers a mild electric shock when such offenses occur. Heck, I'd even go so far as to say that I'd vote for some government subsidy to equip people with them. Something like those DUI/DWI thingies that offenders have installed in their cars to keep them from driving drunk.

I'm not sure that I would wear a smartwatch anyway. I have a really nice Skagen watch that I hardly ever wear. I have a Hebrew watch, a SouthPark watch, and a few others that never see the light of day. I'm kind of a watch collector. I love watches but I just have no reason to wear one anymore. Why? Because they're kind of "out of vogue". I used to wear a watch all the time. It, like my belt, was sort of my trademark. I never stepped out of the house without my wristwatch bound tightly to my left arm and I certainly never fastened a pair of pants without donning a belt and lining up my "gate line" for that final touch of refinement that's subtle and also elegant.

Maybe I'd wear a smartwatch if I could be the only guy with one. I don't want to see people in restaurants, movie theaters, and other social situations looking at, tapping on, or talking into a wristwatch. I also don't want to see someone gesturing or flinching about with some wearable device that operates on body movements, head hitches, and repeated commands that often don't work*.

A small communicator like they have on Star Trek TNG, I could deal with. Build me one of those and I'll use it. But talking into a wristwatch or flitting around with some wearable gadget just isn't going to work for me—or anyone else. Can you imagine a whole room full of people using Google Glass or talking on smartwatches? I can and it disgusts me.

Wearable tech is a reality—there's no doubt about it. I had a digital watch back in the 80s. That was wearable tech. Calculator watches were wearable tech. Thank goodness those went out of style.

The thing is that wristwatches need to display time. Phones need to make phone calls. Cameras need to take pictures. Eyeglasses need to enhance your vision. Beyond that, you really don't need all the bells, whistles, pomp, and circumstance. If I have to interact with technology and look like someone with a neurological disorder does, I just won't do it. I have enough physical and mental idiosyncrasies as it is. I don't need more.

Remember, for wearable tech to work for the masses, it has to be: unobtrusive, lightweight, practical, user-friendly, inexpensive, user maintainable (think battery replacement), and attractive. Give me something other than smartwatches and Google Glass.

*Yes, I know it was humor and satire but seriously, do I really want to see and hear people doing that? The correct answer is "No". Heads-down texting is bad enough.

Related Stories:

Topics: Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung


Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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  • Yes electric pants are in the wearable tech pipeline

    "I would however appreciate some wearable tech for those who run stop signs, who speed through school zones, and who don't move up enough in traffic to get more than three people through a green light. I envision a wearable device that delivers a mild electric shock when such offenses occur."

    Be sure to have a full charge everyday ... Fines will be issued for violators.
  • I don't know about others,

    but when I see pictures of people wearing a pair of Google Glasses, it reminds me of an episode of Star Trek, The Next Generation, called "The Game"! Rather than being an aid, in all likelihood it will lead to more disconnect from the real world. I wonder, is Google inhabited by Ktarians? Hehe!
  • I remember the calculator watches

    I think I had one. There were predecessor technologies for a lot of what we have today back in the 80s.... I had a Psion, too. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose!
    • Similarities

      Seems like we are in similar times, vendors creating all sorts of kit trying new and different approaches and twists looking for the right mix of form and functions. I am skeptical that something that takes part of you vision/visual processing is ultimately the answer for the consumer. It might work for the cop or the solider in the field (nah, robots) but I think it's not a fit for the average or above average consumer. The watch format makes more sense and before you know it the size will be shrunk down to be embedable.
  • When I think of "wearable tech"...

    ...I think the emperor has no clothes.
    Sir Name
    • Only if made by

  • Ken you sound old and disgruntled with the pace that technology moves

    Seriously, you sound like some of the worst commenters on here, "I don't want it so it's pointless". I think it's safe to say you have no vision. You can't see beyond the current, what is it you reference, google glass and smartwatches. You appear to have quite narrow view of what wearable tech actually means. I can't tell if you're only thinking in terms of communication but the possibilities are endless. RFID, NFC,BTLE (gotta love acronyms) could all be integrated into clothing by people with vision, ie. not you. I use bluetooth sunglasses in the car, yes they look geeky and you might not want them but so what, there was a market for hats with radios for a time. As an aside, it's quite amusing to see how many people see the earpiece of the glasses and assume I'm the fuzz. Honestly, beemers come storming up, get alongside then mysteriously drop back after they see the black earbud.
    As I say, whether people comment on my choices or not, really doesn't bother me, I probably don't share their taste in many things. All I'm saying is that the possibilities are endless with wearable tech and the miniaturisation that's going on. As a tech blogger you seem closed to the possibilities, which seems odd. Maybe you should be staying at home with the mac mini that just works after a re-install?
    Little Old Man
    • "...mysteriously drop back after they see the black earbud."

      It may be that they don't think you're the fuzz, but rather that you're just an old geezer with a hearing aid, and they want to give you plenty of maneuvering room. :)
      • Good point

        If it was any other car owning group I might agree but beemer drivers? Not over here. Most don't even pay the extra to get the functioning indicators. I'm also pretty sure that beemer salesmen tell their customers the cars don't work in the inside lane.

        Plus, if I was describing situation that doesn't relate directly to MY actual driving, I'd point out I'm normally topping 85 anyway.
        Little Old Man
  • "I'm not sure that I would wear a smartwatch anyway."

    Even if it had a teeny-tiny keyboard that you could do command-line stuff on using a toothpick and a magnifying glass?

    P.S. Sorry, Ken. Just couldn't let that one pass. :)
  • In your socks...

    If you have not seen this one, a good one and they don't sell your data, even Guy Kawasaki wrote up an unsolicited review of them..David formerly of Microsoft HealthVault and the sensors blend with accelerators and can be placed in more than just socks, just raised a ton of money crowdfunding..Heapsylon