Scottish Martial Arts wrote on Nov 20, 2016, 13:39:
NetHead wrote on Nov 20, 2016, 10:57:
I never understood what people or companies expected from "wearables".
One device (interface/display size allowing) can do everything. So what exactly do they expect the second, third etc devices to be doing.
The short answer is additional sensors.
Consider the GPS on your phone: it's an input source which your desktop PC does not have, and consequently there's a whole host of things which your phone can do which your PC cannot. We're used to thinking of human computer interaction in terms of input devices such as keyboards and mice, but with sensors you get automated input that doesn't directly depend on you doing anything.
Wearables at least have the potential to support computer interaction that otherwise isn't possible right now. However, in order to realize those possibilities you need to think less in terms of a screen you explicitly interact with and more in terms of having a computer seamlessly support your daily activities with minimal direct interaction on your part.
So far the only genuinely useful application to emerge is fitness and activity tracking but that doesn't mean this is a dead end. It just means there's no killer app yet. Clothing with temperature regulation or augmented reality contact lenses are all possibilities over the course of our lifetimes.
(oh my god what a massive wall of text incoming, see what you made me do lol, if you actually bother reading it, I wouldn't hold it against you if you avoid it as I would probably avoid someone else's, please don't take it as hostile/condescending/personal, I know it's easy to come off that way when hammering out a long rant or opinion online, anyway....oh and sorry for any redundancy/horrific segues in it, didn't have to time to squeeze out this load in one go)
If you wanted GPS on your desktop it's not a problem or expensive. Other than things due to size/mobility there is nothing a phone-like can do that a desktop couldn't. There are no interfacing/interaction possibilities with these things that wouldn't be able to work in conjunction with a desktop.
This is basically all pointing back to my thought that we only need one device/"computer" on our person, which renders the "wearables" industry dead.
Simply having sensors in clothing or on our person, do not make a "wearables" industry. (At best it's a boost to companies already making tiny sensors, that would also have to be incredibly cheap and tough)
As for things like temperature controlling clothing, this is nothing new and doesn't need processing. In many cases that will do nothing but add complexity, price and lower reliability and even limit realworld application.
The thing is, this isn't about finding one or two things and going "there it could be used for that" even if it isn't something which can or is already being done without processing. It's about this reaching mass market, becoming something of an industry, being something other than a passing fad or something limited to niche specific tiny applications/markets (such a military which I mentioned).
I specifically mentioned military because it's one of the few instances where a tiny market can still have big profits, as with the crazy runway fashion nonsense I mentioned.
Things you mention like body monitoring is old news, can easily be done with tiny devices, single sensor. Again the watch, when it's ready could easily do that along with everything else, current phones could do it with a single wire or sensor touching the skin (even earphones could work there). This is in no way encouraging the though that we need multiple devices, and while we only need one device it will be the phone until technology enables the watch in ways I mentioned before, allowing it to render the phone superfluous.
Realistically the most successful, most ubiquitous thing to come form "wearables" or what you mention is colour changing cloths, maybe cloths with lights on them, possibly changing colour depending on your body or "mood". All fads. Something more likely to be found in wonky giftshops or fleamarkets than your average or high end store selling either things one wears or tech related gear.
"Augmented reality contact lenses" glasses, spectacles or contact lenses hardly make a "wearables" industry to put it politely, no more than any old watch made a "wearables" industry. Even when we reach the point that display technology to be that small it's not going to be for everyone (as ubiquitous as the phone or watch). Sure it's fine for people who already require contacts/glasses, not for others (we can even ignore how as our race advances technologically the percentage of people needing those should diminish, be it through surgery, medication or genetic manipulation). Keeping in mind we are really pushing into the future with some of this, even then I don't see it becoming a thing in contact lenses beyond specific niche scenarios (again think military etc).
Also the glasses/lenses thing completely relies on there not being any decent holographic technology. That is where the game changes, that's the tech that outright turns the watch into the phone killer, literally turning the phone into an unsellable, archaic, oversized product sitting next to radios. Tiny device with a large (or in that case even resizable) displays and interfaces, though bendable/foldable displays which is more within reach could substitute to some extent.
I still simply don't see "wearables" becoming a thing, and by thing I mean what people generally seem to expect, the same kind of expectations that got the likes of a company like Intel to invest into it. So by "thing" I mean an industry, where there are either shops dedicated to "wearables" or they are at least easily obtainable from either shops which sell tech gear or things one wears and come in a variety of forms. Never going to happen.
The only remote scenario for "wearables", where we wear some form of technology is, likely, a distant future where nanotechnology has been mastered to the extent that clothing can become hydrophobic when it rains, cleans itself on the spot when soiled, and maybe even folds itself presuming it doesn't change into the thing you feel like changing into. Needless to say mastering nanotech to such a degree is probably very far off and even then that would be part of the nanotech industry (the all encompassing nanotech industry) rather than "wearables" (though I would stop using the quotes at that point lol).
So be it the near future, or the very far away hypothetical super future, I don't see "wearables" becoming a "thing". I can see how you might expect sensors to start appearing in things we wear, though that wouldn't make them "wearables" nor do I see even that happening other than for specific niche applications (in which case one will don the appropriate gear rather than everyone already wearing that gear). Such unlikely scenarios, as sensors in everything we wear, would also require ubiquitous compact cheap wireless power, with adding sensors being as cheap and easy as adding those tags to clothing while being just as durable.
Even then why? Other than those specific applications there's no point. We don't need sensors on us to open doors or even to gesticulate to a technological environment, such an environment would do fine (better infact) by instead relying on its own sensors (visual/thermal, audio/vibrations), being able to react to even a naked human while also not only differentiating between human and animal but even different humans.
Put it another way, how would one expect an industry or product that requires people to wear sensors to compete against one that doesn't have that requirement while offering all the same features/functionality etc (even excluding price, convenience, associated tech requirements for sensors in the stuff we might wear).
When it come to us having a sensor on us, we only need one (though even multiple sensors doesn't mean multiple devices), which brings us back to the "single device" I mentioned which again means that "wearables" as an industry is still dead/pointless.
As for the whole, "killer app" nonsense (please keep in mind when I say nonsense I don't mean to be rude towards you, just the term), well that's a whole other topic.This comment was edited on Nov 21, 2016, 05:35.