Cell phones can do so much these days. You can check the weather, stay in touch with people instantly from all over the globe, get satellite-fed directions, and even look up the answer to any question you could ever imagine. Cell phones are great, cell phones are awesome; but they are not good enough. Who wants to have to hold something all day anyway? If you hate having to use your hands to multitask, then 2012 is the year for you.
The definition of the word wearable is simple and self-explanatory: capable of being worn or suitable to be worn. The term has seemed pretty ordinary for hundreds, if not thousands of years. That’s all about to change. Some of the biggest names in technology are fine-tuning devices combining the coolest in 21st century gadgetry, that can be worn on your wrist, around your neck, and even on your face.
The most interesting concept, naturally, is the one closest to your cranium; adding another element to the already incredibly impressive human brain. A Wearable Head Up Display. You’ve probably seen a traditional Head Up Display, or HUD, in classic fighter pilot films and video games alike. A HUD is a transparent medium that presents data to a user without requiring the user to look away from their usual viewpoints.
Google, among others, is working to take rapidly improving Augmented Reality technology, combine it with many of the other technology advancement that have come to dominate many of our lives, and create a pair of glasses that is literally changing the way we look at the world.
News leaked earlier this year about a form of HUD technology called Goggles or Glasses that will feature an eloquent blend of facial recognition, voice recognition, GPS, and AR. Most of the buzz has come from the secret, underground Google X lab (where the car that drives itself was designed). A Wearable AR HUD should be available to the average joe (who has some cheddar to spend) in 2013! The glasses are also rumored to combine 4G technology, the Android OS and AR equipped cameras that can instantly analyze and interpret data about your location and surroundings.
If you aren’t very familiar with Augmented Reality, you can read more about it here. Essentially, The various devices we know and love will enable us to aim our sight towards a landmark or an individual, and seemingly out of thin air, see countless bits and pieces of data about the situation.
If you focus on a restaurant or business, coupons or current deals will appear floating in the air next door. Get a little freaked and look at your friend for comfort? Your new wearable technology will tell you his name, what’s happening in his life via status update, and a reminder that his birthday is today. How will you control it? Voice recognition is part of it, but word is that you’ll be able to control several aspects simply by tilting your head.
Is this technology really so farfetched? You’ve probably seen Oakley Thumps; glasses with a built in MP3 player. Similarly, police officers are also upgrading their in-dash cameras for one a little bit closer to home, and able to catch more of the action.
While AR glasses are pretty sweet, imagine everything described above, but in a contact lens. Now that is nanotechnology. It’s almost inconceivable that a computer could be resting on your eye comfortably. It doesn’t seem right, but it does seem inevitable. There are still a few issues to work out, such as a suitable power source, but scientists agree it’s possible. These contacts have been successfully tested on rabbits, but consumers won’t be seeing these for at least a few years.
So what do you think? Will you hold out on your current cell phone upgrade until these are released? Will these glasses ever qualify for said upgrade? Can you think of any other potential uses for this form of wearable tech? Here is a video of a similar concept designed by a rival, being demoed in 2010.
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