EE Times - by Sylvie Barak – If you think clothes are unnecessarily expensive now, just wait until 2014, a year Juniper research is calling “the watershed” for wearable devices. According to Juniper’s latest study, wearable computing, a market which includes smart glasses and other head-mounted displays, should come to over $1.5 billion in the next couple of years, largely driven by consumer spending on fitness, multi-functional devices, and healthcare.
Forget form fitting, wearable devices are the “future form factor,” says Juniper, with big players like Apple and Google already making “key strategic moves” in the sector.
This year, wearable devices already accounted for $800 million, as apps like Nike+ and the Fitbit Tracker took off, allowing users to work up a sweat, while the computer crunches their fitness data.
While the sporting industry seems to have gotten off to a running start with wearables, it isn’t the only market sector that can look forward to a huge boon.
“While fitness and entertainment will have the greatest demand from consumers, within an enterprise environment, the demand for wearable devices will be greatest from the aviation and warehouse sectors,” noted report author Nitin Bhas.
Forrester Blogs – Senior Analyst Sarah Rotman Epps writes: Wearable devices, or “wearables” for short, have enormous potential for uses in health and fitness, navigation, social networking, commerce, and media. Imagine video games that happen in real space. Or glasses that remind you of your colleague’s name that you really should know. Or paying for a coffee at Starbucks with your watch instead of your phone. Wearables will transform our lives in numerous ways, trivial and substantial, that we are just starting to imagine.
In a new Forrester report out [on 04/17/2012], we argue that wearables will move mainstream once they get serious investment from the “big five” platforms — Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook — and their developer communities, and we give advice to product strategists who want to stay ahead of the wearables curve. Key takeaways:
Wearables are here, and more innovation is coming. We’ve all seen the movies: Gadget-laden heroes from James Bond to the Terminator to Iron Man have long relied on voice-controlled watches and heads-up display glasses to extend their powers. Now, those gadgets are a reality, albeit a niche one. [...]
Wearables need backing from the big five platforms to succeed. Wearables without software are just geeky hardware. The big five software platforms — Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook – each have strengths to bring to wearables. [...]
Wearables will heighten the platform wars — and Google may actually win. [...] Google’s open Android platform will inspire broader experimentation for entire wearable solutions. [...]
Product strategists who want to stay ahead of the curve should take a cue from companies like Intuit and experiment with wearables now, especially if you’re in an industry that will be disrupted by wearables, including apparel, software, media, gaming, and commerce.
CNET- Google finally acknowledged that it’s testing a prototype set of eyeglasses that can stream data to the wearer’s eyes in real time.
A video of this augmented-reality experiment was posted by Google on YouTube showing someone wearing the glasses as he made his way around variety of Manhattan venues, receiving up-to-the-minute updates as information streamed into his glasses.
Now Google’s touting it as Project Glass. Parviz and his collaborators, Steve Lee and Sebastian Thrun, wrote up a brief post to accompany the video and solicited feedback, asking people what they’d like to see in the glasses.
“A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment. We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input. So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do.”
Let’s not be too cynical about an idea that, at first blush, seems delightful but not very relevant. Also, given that the authorities take a dim view of driving while texting, you can image how they’ll react to someone behind the wheel of a car with yet another distraction.
New York Times – [...] Wearable computing is a broad term. Technically, a fancy electronic watch is a wearable computer. But the ultimate version of this technology is a screen that would somehow augment our vision with information and media.
Over the last year, Apple and Google have secretly begun working on projects that will become wearable computers. Their main goal: to sell more smartphones. (In Google’s case, more smartphones sold means more advertising viewed.)
In Google’s secret Google X labs, researchers are working on peripherals that — when attached to your clothing or body — would communicate information back to an Android smartphone.
People familiar with the work in the lab say Google has hired electronic engineers from Nokia Labs, Apple and engineering universities who specialize in tiny wearable computers.
Apple has also experimented with prototype products that could relay information back to the iPhone These conceptual products could also display information on other Apple devices, like an iPod, which Apple is already encouraging us to wear on our wrists by selling Nanos with watch faces.
TechCrunch - We’ve all see video glasses before – those clunky, Geordi La Forge-looking things that promise to display a 10 foot screen in front of your face. The drawbacks, generally, are size and transparency. Lumus, however, has solved those problems and is working on bringing a pair of see-through, HD video glasses to market that look more Minority Report than 1990s Star Trek.
Basically, Lumus has embedded a pair of light pumps into the earpieces that send and refract light down the lens. This moves the electronics away from the eyes, offering a lighter and more stream-lined experience. The lenses are completely transparent (and can be tuned for folks with vision problems) and when enabled the glasses display a crystal clear, 87-inch screen about ten feet away from you. The displays themselves are 1280 x 720 pixels and Lumus has created iPhone-compatible adapters that can display HD video right through the pumps and into the lenses.
MIT technology review – A research team at Georgia Tech hopes to make augmented reality (AR) on smart phones more useful by developing an open standard for it.
Currently, there is no standard way to create or render AR applications, which overlay information on the live video feed from a phone’s camera. Companies such as Layar help app developers create AR functions, but they use proprietary technologies. That means, among other things, that different AR apps may be unable to talk to each other or share data. The Georgia Tech team hopes that its open standard, an enhancement of existing Web protocols, will yield a common way for every Web browser to store, transmit, and manipulate data for augmented reality services. If it does, you wouldn’t need a separate app for each AR function on your phone—one browser could show them all.
ZD Net – The European Union has funded an ambitious project related to wearable technology. This project, named WearIT@work will end in one year and was funded with 14.3 million euros of EU money, even if the total project cost is expected to exceed 23 million euros. For mobile workers, the goal is to replace traditional interfaces, such as screen, keyboard or computer unit, by speech control or gesture control, without modifying the applications. This wearable system is currently being tested in four different fields including aircraft maintenance, emergency response, car production and healthcare.
PDA Today – InHand Electronics Announces e-ink military Soldier Flex PDA (SFPDA). The Soldier Flex PDA (SFPDA) has been successfully demonstrated at the Future Force Warrior’s On-The-Move (OTM) exercises in Fort Dix, NJ. Whereas the electronics for most PDAs are challenged to run under 1W, the entire SFPDA has typical power consumption well under 1W, including the display and InHand’s PXA270-based Fingertip4 CPU board, along with Ethernet, USB, Bluetooth, and keypad interfaces. This reduced-power consumption is due to the unique low-power characteristics of electronic paper displays and InHand’s patented BatterySmart system software. The result: a ruggedized handheld with over 6 hours of run-time weighing in at less than one pound.
Clarion Ledger – [...] Wibree, which is being developed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group and Nokia Corp., will use radio frequency technology for communicating with small devices, such as watches, wireless keyboards, gaming and sports sensors. Even pill boxes and heart rate monitors may benefit from the technology, according to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, which also is known as SIG. Any small, button-cell device with the Wibree feature would have the capability to connect to Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as mobile phones and personal computers. [...] One possible frontrunner will be wrist watches and other wearable devices. Just imagine a receiving a call on your mobile phone and having your watch display a text message or the phone number. I could use that feature now