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Geek Chic

‘Wearable tech’ not just for sci-fi and spy

4/10/2013

No longer relegated to the fictional worlds of Iron Man, James Bond and Star Trek, sometime within the next two years your friends and family will start sporting computerized watches, glasses, rings and potentially more.

You may have heard of Google’s much buzzed-about “Project Glass,” a.k.a. “Google Glasses,” a computer-powered set of glasses that allows its user to record video, take pictures, search the Internet, make and take phone calls and analyze real-time data through heads-up displays (think the “Terminator 2” scene where Arnold is scanning body types in the biker bar). What you probably haven’t heard about are the watches and rings.

Apple’s long-rumored, next industry-melting innovation is said to be the iTV, a television that marries the power of smartphones with the content of the entertainment industry. Now comes word that the iTV could possibly sport an innovation on top of an innovation; replacing the classic remote with a motion capturing ring that allows its wearer to guide the TV’s channel surfing and computer power.

While the true nature of Apple’s iTV is still a mystery, Google Glasses are already being used in the wild. Last month Google accepted more than 8,000 pre-orders for prototype testers, the caveat being the first round of users had to do something creative with the glasses and foot the $1,500 bill. This means within the next few months, you’ll experience the first wave of people festooned with Geordi Laforge-inspired eyewear.

Which brings us to the watches: Companies like Samsung, Apple, LG and others are betting the very product they made obsolete with their smartphones, can be brought back to life through touch screens and mobile software — the sell being all the power of your cellphone with half the screen and half the battery life.

All these gadgets are anything but fashionable. However, the potential of strapping a computer to your face, fist or wrist probably negates any fashion faux pas for the true technophiles. CV

Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. For more tech insights, follow him on Twitter @ResponsiblyWild.                 

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