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.