Samsung Galaxy Gear/The Verge

Wearable technology is moving in the wrong direction

or why the smartwatch is going to fail, and why we should be working on different types of wearable tech.

The next revolution of how we interact with technology is almost here… or so they keep telling me.

Technology is supposed to help us with our lives, enrich it, not take it over. One could argue that the smartphone has already taken over humanity, just look at the bus stops, or the coffee shops, or university lectures. They are everywhere, and no one is putting them down. They are disrupting workflows, they are causing car accidents, and effectively modifying laws because of it.

But people forget something… we choose to take out these phones from pockets and drawers. We choose the distraction over everything else, and that’s fine. Some of us need it.

But we had a choice, and current wearable technology concepts are about to take that away.

The general concepts behind current wearable technology are wrong

All of the current general concepts seem to work around the idea of notifying you of what is going on while your phone is in your pocket. If you get a call, your wrist vibrates (smartwatch). If you get a text message, a dialogue comes up in front of your retina to read you that text message (Google Glass). I know I’m generalizing, but that is what the large consumer market sees and buys, the generalizations of this tech. This reinforces the companies that make these products to continue making these ‘flawed from concept’ products.

We are essentially adding another distraction, but this time we don’t have as much of a choice. You are wearing it, you won’t be as likely to ignore it. You will have a much bigger impulse to look at your wrist to see that notification, or in the case of Google Glass, it will be directly in your sight… that is something you will have a very hard time ignoring.

Do you see the pattern? We are creating distractions for the distraction… how is that productive?

Some people are getting it right

Bionym, a company that has launched from the University of Toronto, has just released a wrist band called the Nymi. It is a concept that takes your heartbeat and uses it as a security measure instead of passwords. A very cool concept that I feel NFC products should have went with.

But it also has health based potentials. Imagine having a bunch of health based sensors that one could track on a constant, a metric system for your health. This is where things get interesting.

How about applying this health concept to infants? Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is a very real problem, and there is no way to track it. Imagine applying the concept of the Nymi to SIDS. The ability to track an infants heart rate using wearable technology would be amazing both for scientists studying SIDS and for parents that want to make sure their infant is healthy. Just an idea.

I would love to see wearable tech improve our lives, instead of adding another distraction.I really hope wearable tech makes way into everyone’s lives, and if Google or Samsung (or anyone else for that matter) ever release something that would improve my productivity or life, I would be the first in line to buy it.

Sept 29th — Made it to front page of Digg! Had to fix some grammar.

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