Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Is the Rise of Wearable Electronics Finally Here?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the don't-let-charlie-stross-design-them dept.

Open Source 98

ptorrone writes "MAKE Magazine takes a look at the last ten years or so of 'wearable electronics.' From wireless watches to LCD goggles, MAKE predicts we are collectively entering a new era of wearables. As the price for enabling components drops, always-on connectivity in our pockets and purses increases, and access to low-cost manufacturing resources and know-how rises, we'll see innovation continue to push into these most personal forms of computing."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

RIP my QBert watch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36522064)

I didn't appreciate you while I owned you

Re:RIP my QBert watch (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36522088)

you wasted a perfectly good frosty piss you asshole.

Re:RIP my QBert watch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36522350)

lol - on the contrary, I think it was pretty hilarious

Priceless. (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522114)

Circuit board: $10
Computer chips: $80
Soldering iron: $30
Looking like a huge dork: Priceless.

Re:Priceless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36522258)

Pretty sure you forgot the solder.

Re:Priceless. (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522440)

The cheapest Radio Shack [radioshack.com] irons come with solder and a few other trinkets, packing 30 scorching watts of metal-melting power. Not bad for 8 bucks!

Re:Priceless. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522266)

Circuit board: $10
Computer chips: $80
Soldering iron: $30
Looking like a huge dork: Priceless.

Soldering iron for wearable [amazon.com] is cheaper.

Re:Priceless. (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36527166)

I don't think you can solder with that. For one thing, the heating tip is *way* too broad.

Re:Priceless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36522782)

you actually hit on something there. Isn't it time we can put an entire circuit on a chip? CPLD's are too complicated. I gave up building cheap electronics. Once the word "micro" enters the picture your best bet is to canabalize something en leu of actually pulling up Orcad...

Help eliminate stupid speeding tickets. [wikispeedia.org]

Chips cheaper, conductive fabric more expensive (2)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522966)

The typical geeky wearable electronics system these days (not counting wristwatches or holders for smartphones) is a Lilypad Arduino, some LEDs and switches, sewable conductive thread, and a battery pack. You might or might not end up soldering - a lot of the parts are connectorized or made for sewing with conductive thread.

The expensive, hard-to-find part - the creativity it takes to make something interesting that you'd actually wear more than once.

Re:Priceless. (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 3 years ago | (#36523034)

I for one welcome our Neal Stevenson-esque gargoyle overlords.

Re:Priceless. (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#36545282)

I always liked the idea of Molly's eye implants in Nueromancer better. Implant a piece of glass over your eyes that contains light amp, IR, sunglasses, maybe millimeter wave radar, and a display. Then have it connect wirelessly to a portable computer. This is a bit of a stretch from what Molly had, but it wasn't much more to add.

Real question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36524666)

Is a Fleshlight a wearable electronic? This is very important to me kthxbye.

Re:Priceless. (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36524844)

I dunno, it could be pulled off. I'm watching with great interest the rise and rise of steampunk in fashionable circles, which is the diametric opposite of the slick apple look. Replace brass cogs with copper electronics and you might have something, especially once one of the big fashion houses weigh in. And they will, in their constant search for the new.

Re:Priceless. (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528750)

Steampunk was "new" about twenty five years ago, dude.

Re:Priceless. (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529100)

Not in fashionable circles. :p

Re:Priceless. (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532964)

Oh my! I didn't know Cory Doctorow commented on Slashdot!

never gonna happen! (3, Insightful)

cheeks5965 (1682996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522122)

Wearable electronics are a pipe dream and will never happen! ::looks at watch:: oops running late got to go!

Re:never gonna happen! (1)

Jimbob The Mighty (1282418) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522254)

We already have wearable electronics... have had for a while... Sony WalkMan, Apple iPod, etc... I'm sure the corporations that stand to make billions from these products will throw some money at marketing to try and work out how to make these devices 'cool'.

Re:never gonna happen! (1)

Lanteran (1883836) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522652)

Woosh!
(Looks at watch)

Re:never gonna happen! (1)

Jimbob The Mighty (1282418) | more than 3 years ago | (#36524284)

*Headdesk*

Re:never gonna happen! (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 3 years ago | (#36526240)

What they mean with wearable electronics, are electronics embedded in things which you already wear for other purposes. Like belts, glasses or jackets. Neither watches nor smart phones are supposed to be included in that category.

Nobody has come up with an application which would make that interesting. Having your mp3 player in your belt buckle is inconvenient unless you are using only one belt. Having something built into your sun glasses is inconvenient unless you like with wearing your sunglasses even when there is insufficient light (ok that could be a niche). Embedding your smartphone into your jacket is inconvenient unless you only want to use your smartphone when wearing that jacket, or you have it build in all your jackets and are happy to only buy jackets which are equipped with smartphones. (So no more "hey I like that blue one".)

Wearable electronics have to compete with other technologies like pockets, belt clips, wrist bands and bags. So far they've been losing that competition rather dramatically.

Re:never gonna happen! (1)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542302)

The company that builds a better pair of glasses will get my business the moment "cash on hand" meets "price".

I've been wearing glasses my whole life, and it annoys me that it's nigh-impossible to get a pair that does anything more than just "fix my eyes". Give me something that records video and audio. Maybe some binocular capability. I'd say throw video on there, except we haven't solved the "fry your eyeball" problem there.

Maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36522150)

And maybe 2012 is The Year Of The Linux Desktop...

Re:Maybe... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522232)

And maybe 2012 is The Year Of The Linux Desktop...

And maybe 2012 is The Year Of The Linux Wrist ...

FTFY

Kurzwell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36522170)

as this is one of his 7 failed predictions 4 articles down I call "BITCOIN"

Wireless vs. Cancer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36522224)

Didn't the WHO mention something about a link between wireless radiation and cancer recently?

Just a thot...
AC and PROUD! :-)

Re:Wireless vs. Cancer? (2)

Flyerman (1728812) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522454)

Yes, it did. They put it in the same category as talcum body powder and low-frequency magnetic fields.

Re:Wireless vs. Cancer? (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 3 years ago | (#36526950)

They put it in the same category as talcum body powder and low-frequency magnetic fields.

And pickles! Don't forget pickles!

zz9'za (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522236)

But with one hand weighed down by a wrist computer, how will we operate our digital watches?

Re:zz9'za (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522262)

By voice.

Re:zz9'za (2)

BillX (307153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36523000)

By what? No, not 'my butt'. Delete-that. Delete-that. Delete-that...

New year of the linux desktop? (1)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522244)

It seems like every 5-10 years or new development points to wearable electronics. First, transistors, then microchips, a decade or so ago, it was small lithium batteries, now? compact wireless. Of course i didn't RTFM, but we've been "wearing" our electronics for years. Carrying cell phones has been the status quo for a decade, walkmans/diskmans for longer. Yes, we carry more electronics every day, but I still wear a timex ironman which has the same functionality as the timex ironman I got in 1994 (indiglo FTW!). However, I doubt that people will consent to wearing t-shirts that monitor heart rate, undies that take/analyze stool/urine samples, and shoes that measure stress as long as you can get cheap clothes that look good and are comfortable. Also, the average person can, you know, feel what's going on with themselves and if they're the kind of person who would buy a watch to monitor heart rate, they can take their pulse by hand and will. How many people do you know regularly check their pulse? Especially when not exercising?

Wearable electronics are in direct competition with simple sensors that feed into your smartphone. Integrate the electronics into a garment and you only get to wear it once a week (more if you're grody) or however often you do laundry. Watches do lots, but people like not having to recharge or change batteries more than once a year.

Re:New year of the linux desktop? (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522312)

>but I still wear a timex ironman which has the same functionality as the timex ironman I got in 1994 (indiglo FTW!).

I'm wearing a Citizen that has about the same functionality.

But it recharges itself in sunlight and has all the functions of a digital alarm-chronograph in an analog format.

I'm sure it's not much more trouble at this point to put into it all the stuff that's in my phone. Well, maybe not this year. 2-3 years from now, though, I may be playing Angry Birds on it.

Re:New year of the linux desktop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36522820)

Better: Year of the Linux HalterTop

Re:New year of the linux desktop? (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522994)

Better: Year of the Linux HalterTop

Worse: ... for guys

Re:New year of the linux desktop? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#36524250)

Better: Year of the Linux HalterTop

Worse: ... for guys

Worse: ... for Stallman.

Re:New year of the linux desktop? (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 3 years ago | (#36526970)

Worse: ... for Stallman.

That's GNU/Linux HalterTop...

lewt (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522248)

Gonna get some phat lewtz when I gank you outside of your house

Seiko Data 2000! (1)

mlawrence (1094477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522268)

http://www.pocketcalculatorshow.com/nerdwatch/fun2.html [pocketcalculatorshow.com] That was the first computer I wore. Didn't help me meet girls back in Grade 12 - I wonder if today's wearable electronics will help better?

Re:Seiko Data 2000! (1)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522336)

I'm guessing in grade 12 nothing helped you with girls, based purely on the fact you wore that.

Re:Seiko Data 2000! (1)

calcwatch (859144) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522978)

Hey, a wrist-top computer alone won't make you a nerd! Just don't let it define who you are and you'll be fine!

(Learn from my mistakes...)

Re:Seiko Data 2000! (1)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36523600)

I'm not saying it defines who he was, I'm just guessing he didn't have much of a sense of style. LOL

Say what? (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522492)

From wireless watches to LCD goggles

Can someone tell me when we ever had wired watches?

And since I had an LCD wristwatch about 20 years ago, I'm not sure what this business about "wearable technology" is talking about.

I walk the dog with a radio clipped to my belt listening to the Sox game, and I've been doing that since about 1965 (though with a different dog and mono earphones).

So what, now we're going to have another round of LCD glasses that suck? Didn't Microsoft have some extremely stupid service with wristwatches that got downloads of information over a decade ago? That went nowhere, too.

Why are LCD glasses and watches with WiFi considered "wearable technology" but 3G smartphones you can put in a pocket or wear on your belt and media players that clip to your shirt pocket are not wearable technology.

I'm too weary to look at anything but the RSS feed headline to this article. Is it another link to some horrible Conde Nast ad-story?

Re:Say what? (0)

ptorrone (638660) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522886)

"I'm too weary to look at anything but the RSS feed headline to this article. Is it another link to some horrible Conde Nast ad-story?"

MAKE isn't owned by conde-nast, it's part of oreilly.

the article talks about the failure of SPOT watches and what's changed since then, and why something like an open source hardware watch will probably do ok within a smaller market.

don't be so lazy :)

Re:Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36524538)

lol... your consumer-whore-brain didn't process anything of what GP wrote...

Re:Say what? (1)

ptorrone (638660) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528890)

as if anything you say matters. an anonymous comment on slashdot, on a story that's now a day old, you're reading what other people are doing, what other people are building - who is the consumer again, really? :)

Re:Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36523096)

Can someone tell me when we ever had wired watches?

When they were called clocks.

I'm pretty sure wireless is used here to denote wifi instead of the standard "no wires" that wireless normally means.

And since I had an LCD wristwatch about 20 years ago, I'm not sure what this business about "wearable technology" is talking about.

I walk the dog with a radio clipped to my belt listening to the Sox game, and I've been doing that since about 1965 (though with a different dog and mono earphones).

So what, now we're going to have another round of LCD glasses that suck? Didn't Microsoft have some extremely stupid service with wristwatches that got downloads of information over a decade ago? That went nowhere, too.

Why are LCD glasses and watches with WiFi considered "wearable technology" but 3G smartphones you can put in a pocket or wear on your belt and media players that clip to your shirt pocket are not wearable technology.

Seems to be considering more ubiquitous forms of technology. More towards technology you "wear" instead of technology you "carry". A smartphone isn't "clothing" so this article doesn't seem to consider it "wearable" as such, though it does make a nod towards how bluetooth headsets and so on are pieces people "wear" as much as "carry".

The premise of the article appears to be technology making the leap from simple function to fashion. As components get smaller and smaller, they'll be added into clothing more since it's cheaper and cheaper to do. Bracelets/rings which hold your information instead of cards or tickets. Jackets you can plug your mp3 device in your pocket, the cuffs have built in music controls, and the collar has an extensible headphone. Shoes that come with GPS, accelerometers, and what have you so that, even if you get lost, you can always find your way back even when the GPS doesn't connect. The usual glasses that have LCD screens in them. So on and so forth.

Yeah, a lot of these functions are in other devices, but the argument is always "wouldn't it be better if you didn't have to think about it?" Then again, there's the whole privacy aspect of it.

Re:Say what? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36526396)

wouldn't it be better if you didn't have to think about it?

No.

Re:Say what? (1)

Livius (318358) | more than 3 years ago | (#36523102)

Maybe the 'walk' aspect of the Walkman was too subtle for them?

Re:Say what? (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36523762)

I think their point is that very little wearable technology has found success in the marketplace, outside of watches (which many people treat as a fashion accessory). Everything else has pretty much been an accessory that you carry in your purse or, if you wore it, you looked like a dork.

That's not likely to change very soon either. I've seen USB flash drives formed into jewellery, but that is the exception because it is small enough to be a subtle fashion accessory without making you look like a dork. I've seen some stuff integrated into clothing, but mostly it has been by geeks who have zero sense of style.

Re:Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36525076)

I think their point is that very little wearable technology has found success in the marketplace, outside of watches (which many people treat as a fashion accessory)

Hearing Aids
Head phones
walkman/discman/iPod/mp3 player
Bluetooth headsets
etc.

Re:Wired Watches and LCD Glasses (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36525032)

I got this one. I've studied this area as a fan for about six years now. Here we go.

Take all your nouns and stick them on a NASA gyro and spin them all sideways into the other sentences.

You said:

From wireless watches to LCD goggles

Can someone tell me when we ever had wired watches?

And since I had an LCD wristwatch about 20 years ago, I'm not sure what this business about "wearable technology" is talking about.

I walk the dog with a radio clipped to my belt listening to the Sox game, and I've been doing that since about 1965 (though with a different dog and mono earphones).

So what, now we're going to have another round of LCD glasses that suck? ...Why are LCD glasses and watches with WiFi considered "wearable technology" but 3G smartphones you can put in a pocket or wear on your belt and media players that clip to your shirt pocket are not wearable technology.

If it's in your pocket, it's not "wearable" because it's just one more thing crammed into your pocket. Unless you have a few tricks enabled, to use it you ... pull it out of your pocket. Then it's not being worn. Clipping it to your belt is an odd hybrid I'll pass on. Belts are like the Switzerland of style - we expect large objects to be clipped there that don't look right anywhere else.

That leads into what is in fact a profound part of the field that hasn't quite made the discussion. Wearable tech has to be stylish. All those jokes about bad style are the court jester telling us the way it is. Now, those bluetooth earbuds - that's your first clue we're starting to do things right, combined with the social change needed in tandem. Tell me those don't look like the first small piece of the Borg ensemble! I wouldn't have predicted those would cross the rubicon of cool, but someone made it work so here they are. Right. Next!

There are about four signature types of wearable tech that are the science fiction holy grails, and apparently there's room for a few more wildcards like those bluetooth earpieces. Let's start with watches! I had one of these mp3 watches (though lower capacity at the time.) (Ps. the USB cord tucks into the watch out of sight.)

http://store.usbwatches.net/xonix-1gb-mp3.html [usbwatches.net]

Would you have pegged that as a Music Player!!? (I think wearable tech is Matrix-Urban, so I liked that design. But for the dinners & ties crowd there was another one that looks like one of those "you made salesman of the week" company bonuses.)

Elsewhere in that story about the Best Buy - iTunes Required disaster, people were starting to chime in that they missed the simple mounted mp3 players. Who needs this cloud junk? Wear your music collection on your arm! And for the icecream on top - remember that mp3 players are flash drives with extra hardware? So 1GB can also contain your entire mobile data collection! Wired Watch. Check.

LCD Glasses are the next one, but also one of the hardest! Look, there's the court jester reminding us about style again. Turns out that you need the components to be brutally small to hide in the glasses form factor. The Smart Phone is getting close - it's packing the beginnings of usable computing power into Hand Size form factor. So you can't quite get the whole computer into the glasses yet. But you don't need to! THAT's the use case of the pocket! You can get away with clunky stuff in your pocket. So the glasses are ... wait for it ... the ulimate in privacy! A monitor that no one can peek at! No more furtive switching tabs between your manly sports feed and Lady Gaga!

The good news is that they are almost here! The article is once again the court jester grudgingly admitting that we're close enough on the style front that it's "safe for the masses to talk about." It's not a great article. (Quoting articles from 2008?! Really?!)

Here are some Vuzix glasses that are starting to show the way. (Yes, still a little heavy, but give the devs two more years and one more gen of smaller tech.)

http://www.vuzix.com/consumer/products_wrap_1200.html [vuzix.com]

The last one is data gloves. Still lots of work both from the Milan crowd to make them safely fashionable to wear, and the UI guys to come up with a beautifully powerful interface. Relatively speaking there's room for hardware in gloves too, so a real genius will tap the new craze of offloading work from the CPU in your pocket to auxilliary chips. Wait for it... TWO FIVE-CORE machines! On your hand! (If six is easier for manufacturing reasons, the sixth would be the palm.) Ya remember how everyone's trying to figure out what comes beyond the keyboard? Data Gloves. It's Pinch & Zoom on 5-hour-energy. For bonus points I'd luv it if they designed the movements so that it looks like you're just drumming your fingers listening to music. Oh look! Your glasses are recording your video blog feed! Tap Tap Tap (that's a T, folks!!) and you just posted to your blog!

Bring on the future!

Re:Wired Watches and LCD Glasses (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36525322)

The thing is, often there's no point.

I don't have ears on my wrist, so why would it be practical to have a *watch* store and play my music ? You'd need a cable from the watch to the earbuds, and that sounds horribly impractical and dorky.

You could make the earbuds wireless, say bluetooth, but then they need their own independent powersupply and electronics anyway, so in that case, why not simply store the music in the earbuds themselves ? Why use watch+earbuds to solve a problem that earburds can solve alone ?

Re:Wired Watches and LCD Glasses (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36526456)

The last one is data gloves.

OK, now you've got me. I need me some data gloves.

I've experimented with various types of devices for controlling musical instruments since about 1980 (including "wearable technology") and though I've had some interesting results, nothing has really allowed improved much on the theremin.

Data gloves... OK. Thanks, TaoPheonix.

Re:Wired Watches and LCD Glasses (1)

xhrit (915936) | more than 3 years ago | (#36528016)

you can get a nintendo powerglove on ebay for about 25$.

Re:Wired Watches and LCD Glasses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36565760)

You're talking 1st gen wearable tech. Now let's talk about further down the line. Clothes that will regulate temperature, that can change color, texture, on command. Clothing that can detect biochemical agents in the air, clothing that can do whatever your imagination can come up with.

The real holy grail is clothing with these functions, because everybody wears clothes everyday.

Re:Say what? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36525154)

The only practical applications I can think of are energy harvesting (solar, kinetic, thermal) for your other gadgets and built in sensors for monitoring heart rate/BP/pedometer. They would have to be damn cheap but I think that should be possible given time. Some types of security tags are already considered disposable.

As a follow up review/study, maybe... (1)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522506)

make magazine should take a look at the increase in cancer and sterility as a result of always on devices (or even sometimes on) and proximity to the point of the cancer. We are entering a new era for sure, and it may not be too pretty either.

Re:As a follow up review/study, maybe... (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522588)

cancer is more due to environment, sterility is because people are waiting too long to pop sprogs these days.

Re:As a follow up review/study, maybe... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#36523858)

waiting too long to pop sprogs these days

Dear gods, you guys and your slang. That's great. :)

It was clear from context, but that sounded like something a crooked mechanic would say.

"Welp, looks like you popped yer sprogs. If you woulda come in when you did that, we coulda had it set for a couple hundred, but drivin' around like that decoupled your gonkulator. We're talking serious work here..."

Re:As a follow up review/study, maybe... (2)

ptorrone (638660) | more than 3 years ago | (#36523002)

do you think a DIY publication should "look at the increase in cancer and sterility as a result of always on devices" - even if we had an opinion would anyone want it hear it from us? there's likely more qualified people to be looking at that :)

Re:As a follow up review/study, maybe... (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36527200)

Considering that there's no such increase to be looking at, why should they?

Meh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36522642)

I'm a software developer and a friend, who is develops hardware solutions, and I teamed up with a small sewing company, which we are also friends with, to discuss wearable electronics. We spent an entire day pouring over documents, examples, internet content, blogs, existing products etc. to come up with marketable ideas such as complete products, hobby components, kits anything and anything else except we just couldn't come up with anything. Maybe we just aren't creative enough but so many of the existing ideas out there are just 'let's put LED's on it' rather than functional reliable products which actually do something. All the ideas we came up with were either unreliable, outside of the markets price range or could be or already are being done (usually better and cheaper) by existing products such as your phone. As much as a I want wearable electronics to be a success and the next big thing, I just can't see any useful marketable applications beyond a niche set of things like tracking and visual art, or as I said, maybe we just suck.

Re:Meh (0)

ptorrone (638660) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522906)

the open source cufflinks that i mention at the end of the article (and a product i co-designed) have already sold out and i'm guessing will be about $250k of revenue just for those, this isn't counting the earrings and necklaces. while they're meant to be decorative, i think there's a good market for this for companies that get the geek/nerd market who actually love these types of things.

Re:Meh (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522982)

I can see it now - homeless guys being paid to walk around with a shirt that shows an advertising RSS feed on the back - and snoops everyone who walks by to collect info so the 'system' can send them coupons via their cellphone.

Actually about 1/2 of that was predicted by a futurist at the O'Reilly Open Source Conference in Monterey back in 2002 or thereabouts.

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36523032)

....but so many of the existing ideas out there are just 'let's put LED's on it' rather than functional reliable products which actually do something....I just can't see any useful marketable applications beyond a niche set of things like tracking and visual art

iCufflinks [adafruit.com]

Open Source. Gorgeously machined aluminum with a subtle pulsating LED.

Re:Meh (1)

ptorrone (638660) | more than 3 years ago | (#36523082)

the tv-b-gone version will be done soon :)

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36523248)

This? [boingboing.net]

Re:Meh (1)

ptorrone (638660) | more than 3 years ago | (#36523278)

we can squeeze maybe one code / one IR LED in to a cufflink, so it wouldn't be a stealth full-version of the tv-b-gone. you could do the sony off code and that's about it.

Re:Meh (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36523670)

I'm a software developer and a friend, who is develops hardware solutions, and I teamed up with a small sewing company, which we are also friends with, to discuss wearable electronics. We spent an entire day pouring over documents, examples, internet content, blogs, existing products etc. to come up with marketable ideas such as complete products, hobby components, kits anything and anything else except we just couldn't come up with anything.

You were trying too hard.

Want wearable? This [discovery.com] is wearable. An artistic, eco-conscious statement that transcends old-skool geekery yet subtle enough to appeal to the common man.

No idea as to whether any of the buttons work.

You mean like that... (2)

vallette (762759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36522802)

...computer/GPS/music library/reality augmenter/camera (stills and video)/video player/game machine/ebook reader/web browser/storage device that allows me to communicate with virtually anyone anywhere at anytime and fits in the palm of my hand? Or is this cooler because you can wear it?

pivotmylife (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36523054)

some stanford and ucla cs faculty are working on similar stuff, check out their site www.pivotmylife.com, especially in their product review section.

Our contribution to wearable electronics (1)

jonsu85 (2293702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36523178)

Here is my contribution (working with some Stanford and UCLA computer science faculty) to wearable sensors: http://www.pivotmylife.com/ [pivotmylife.com] Prof Ron Fedkiw is also teaching a seminar next year on this topic, entitled "Cellphones, Sensors, and You". Check out his website for a description http://physbam.stanford.edu/~fedkiw [stanford.edu]

Ghetto blasters... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36523386)

No mention of ghetto blasters? Those are wearable too. OK, you need big shoulders, but still...

No (1)

furgle (1825812) | more than 3 years ago | (#36523630)

No its not. But aren't those transition lenses magic.

Hey look (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36523646)

A crappy article whose sole existence is to sell crappy over priced cuff-links for the elitist iCrowd! Bash Sony for going against hackers then promote Apple themed products? Really? How hypocritical.

Wireless watches? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 3 years ago | (#36523936)

Um... What? All my watches have been wireless - even the "self-winding" one.

Re:Wireless watches? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36525174)

I remember seeing a watch a few years ago that ran PalmOS and had a USB connector so you could sync your calendars and contacts. That's the only wired watch I've seen. I was almost tempted - it was a nice idea, but it just looked hideous, and much too bulky. I eventually got a Skagen watch, which is so thin and light I can forget I'm wearing it, and does nothing except tell the time. It turns out, that's the feature that I actually want from a watch.

Re:Wireless watches? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36526328)

That's the only wired watch I've seen. I was almost tempted - it was a nice idea, but it just looked hideous, and much too bulky.

What killed it for me was the battery life was measured in hours and could only survive hundreds of charges and it cost hundreds of dollars. So, figure owning one cost about 20 cents/hr no matter if you looked at it or not...

Wearable Computing Ought to Augment (1)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 3 years ago | (#36524032)

Human senses, not merely be another way to surf the web. A HUD style implant in the retina or the ability to see other spectra of light like Jordi's visor would be useful. You know, general bionic man stuff. That's cool

good news (1)

Errtu76 (776778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36524130)

we need more solarkini's [geenstijl.nl] !!

HMDs (1)

AAWood (918613) | more than 3 years ago | (#36524508)

Funnily enough, I've been looking at this recently. I still don't get quite there don't seem to be many low-cost monocular wearable displays out there, even if tethered to a desktop. I personally would love to be able to read on my phone on the way to work without worrying about walking into traffic, or to free up monitor at home for a messenger by placing it up on one eye. Surely the explosion of mobile devices out there mean low-cost small displays are common enough to do this now?

About the only wearable displays I can find that are anywhere close to sensibly priced are the Vuzix displays, but by covering both eyes they're only really usable sat on a sofa. I've honestly been considering buying one just to cut it in half and build a mount for one eyepiece. And all of this is without going into AR devices, as clearly the issue here is as much coming up with the functionality and controls to make it happen.

Re:HMDs (1)

Michael Meissner (520083) | more than 3 years ago | (#36526226)

Yes, I agree I've been looking for cheap monocular HMD's for some time that take RCA input, (all I need is QVGA quality) and have replaceable, rechargeable batteries. I want to plug in my steampunk-ish camera (Olympus E-3 DSLR mounted inside of a wooden shell with bellows made to resemble Speed Graphics press cameras) live view feed into something I can see off the side of my field of vision, but not take over my complete field of view. I'd like something in the 1 - 1.8" size. I just got a PMP (portable music player, JXD i696) that uses a cell photo battery and has a 2.8" lcd, but ideally to be mounted on my glasses, I want something a bit smaller (more borg, less Geordi). Maybe I'm using the wrong search terms, but I can't find small portable lcds that take video input.

Re:HMDs (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36526350)

I personally would love to

Connect it to my hand held GPS unit so I can look for geocaches in "heads up" mode, enjoying the scenery rather than staring at the box.

One problem is I'd like the battery life to be equivalent to my GPS, a couple days continuous. Then again, some people geocache with smartphones that have battery lives best measured in minutes, so maybe no big deal?

Re:HMDs (1)

Michael Meissner (520083) | more than 3 years ago | (#36527814)

That's why having a standard replaceable battery is important. So many of these devices either have batteries that are soldered in, or are unique to the manufacturer and will be hard to come by when either the manufacturer goes out of business or makes the next generation of new shiny that uses a different battery type. The JXD 696 that I mentioned earlier for instance takes a Nokia 5C battery that is very common (my previous cell phone in fact used it). Unfortunately, it looks like the newer generation of JXD portable music/video players now have a soldered in battery.

On the other hand, 5v (usb) charging is pretty common, and you can get cell phone recharger batteries fairly cheaply, and just carry a few for use during the day, and recharge at night (assuming you have power at night). The Energizer Energi to Go is one such unit. There are 9v and 12v power packs as well if your unit needs more juice.

Re:HMDs (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530470)

Funnily enough, I've been looking at this recently. I still don't get quite there don't seem to be many low-cost monocular wearable displays out there, even if tethered to a desktop.

It's not good enough to be low cost, they'd also have to not suck.

Judging from the "eye displays" I've tried, even the basic tech is still pretty shaky, and trying to make a product that seamlessly integrates with the outside environment is appreciably harder.

A product that distracts people visually while promoting use "on the move" would also be an interesting public safety problem. Think zoned-out pedestrians listening to their ipod, or drivers yacking on their cellphone, but worse. [Whatever warning labels are on the box, you know Americans would start using them while driving... "oh, but it only blocks one eye, I felt I could handle it ... I didn't mean to kill all those orphans..."]

So ... yeah, it's a really cool idea in SF and maybe for specialized applications in reality (special forces), but, for general usage... I dunno...

Re:HMDs (1)

AAWood (918613) | more than 3 years ago | (#36532670)

Agreed on the social aspects, but on the technical ones I don't understand quite why the tech is, as you put it, pretty shaky. For one of these you just need a small screen that looks OK, enough battery to keep it going for a while, a way to get the video to it, and a way to attach it to your head. You can walk into any phone shop and get something that does the first three for a hundred pounds or so, and I don't really see any trouble with the fourth. So why does it cost three times as much to get something that does a fraction of the job at a fraction of the quality?

I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying I don't understand it. I'm missing something. I know I must be. Because right now, I have an old Windows Mobile phone lying round, and I'm trying to figure out what exactly would stop someone more handy than me from putting the screen and circuitry into an eyepatch and using it to do whatever.

Re:HMDs (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 3 years ago | (#36537452)

I don't know know enough about the technical details to give a good answer, but there are some things that come to mind.

It seems that compared to a cellphone, an eye-display would require optics (can't just hang a display in front of your eye), which would add weight/bulk/opacity. Moreover, for casual use, it would have to be even lighter than a cell phone (you can't have a heavy weight precariously perched over you eye, and bulky head gear isn't acceptable for a consumer product), and even with the battery and electronics shunted off into a separate unit (but with the optics added), that's not trivial at a reasonable cost. All of this may be solvable, but ... for a consumer product it also has to have a pretty low cost!

Another thing is that I think generally people probably won't accept a single-eye display that blocks that eye's view entirely -- something that overlays a display onto normal vision would be far more attractive, but of course that increases the required complexity/precision even more...

It's here since the times of wrist watches. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36525104)

:)

Make is terrible and this is a garbage submission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36526398)

ptorrone runs Makezine. Poorly. It's long been an irrelevant, masturbatory waste of time. At best, you got fawning credulous stories about a concept sketch some hippy dippy graphic designer came up with, or some bullshit knitting project. At worst, you had Becky Stern posting garbage about how to be an asshole to others in public.

Sorry, guess you don't have a "be nice policy" here, Phil.

Re:Make is terrible and this is a garbage submissi (1)

ptorrone (638660) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529342)

hah! MAKE is doing fantastic (i don't run it) - but there are over 200k+ people at maker faire each year, the advertising and print sales are great and *unlike* every other "magazine" MAKE is profitable and not going out of business. maker shed is multi-million dollar business and one of the largest open source hardware providers online. but hey, you have an axe to grind either MAKE, me or becky - it really doesn't matter how well MAKE does. in the DIY space MAKE is tops, you know that.

you're an anonymous commenter on slashdot, talking about what *others* are doing and making on a day-old post - think about that :)

PipBoy 4000! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36526450)

THAT's what I want!!!

Just marketing ploy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36538446)

There has been some being written about the wearable electronics in the past few years and nothing in the local markets, that it seems like a practical joke. Unless, the power supply issues are resolved, these future -proof devices are going to just going to remain in the lab and tech magazine pages.

Wearable electronics (1)

mostlyDigital (1898874) | more than 3 years ago | (#36569930)

Call me a dork but my phone is clipped to my belt. I'm approaching the age when I may need a digital hearing aid. My glasses aren't technically electronic but at the atomic level everything is and they adjust to ambient light. We won't get into pacemakers, insulin pumps... None of these items are exotic.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?