Wearable technology – once an idea of fantasy and the movies – is finding its way into everyday life. With voice controls and hands-free computing becoming the norm, wearable consumer technology is poised to become more mainstream this year.
Hands-free computing devices were displayed prominently at CES 2013. For example, Kopin Corporation showcased the Golden-i wireless headset, which operates using the “cloud” and allows interaction with virtually-enhanced surroundings. Golden-i has applications for day-to-day office environments and more urgent emergency response situations. When worn by first responders, the headset enables direct video communication to fellow workers and the ability to see through thick smoke or other obstacles like walls or fallen debris.
Google debuted its much-talked about augmented reality glasses, Google Glass, in 2012. This is a minimalistic approach to hands-free computing, which utilizes a combination of voice commands and Google’s massive search database to answer questions, capture video and send texts. Set to become commercially available in early 2014, the real question is, will the world embrace Google Glass?
Other wearable technology can be found on the wrists of many consumers in the form of watches and bracelets. Products including the Sony SmartWatch, Nike+ FuelBand and Jawbone UP allow users to track things like exercise activity, sleep habits and food intake or to easily stay up to date with calendars, social media, and text messages and calls.
The possibilities are endless with wearable technology, especially as major companies enter the area.