HEAD SHOULDERS KNEES AND TOES

Which body parts are we attaching computers to?

February 20, 2014
February 20, 2014

Analysts expect that the wearable computing industry will be worth $6 billion by 2016. But where on their bodies will we put these wearables? Here:

Locations-of-wearable-devices-Wearables_chartbuilder

Vandrico Inc., a company that does third-party consulting for wearable creators, maintains an up-to-date list of every such device on the market (or soon-to-be). The database contains 118 products, which cost an average of $401, and it organizes them by bodily location as well as by market focus:

Market-focus-of-wearable-devices-Wearables_chartbuilder

Of course, many of these devices fall into multiple categories. The Catapult Nanotrak, an activity monitor, can be worn on the feet, legs, arms, torso, hands, or head. Though why you would want to strap an activity monitor to your head, we have no idea.

It’s no surprise that “lifestyle” is the biggest category—just about every wearable could be categorized as such. And no surprise, either, that fitness and medical uses take second and third place. The quantified health movement will probably push most early adopters into their first wearable. In time, of course, demand will grow for more comprehensive devices.

It’s the outliers that really inspire curiosity. With the wrist so popular, which two devices end up on the neighboring no man’s land that is the hand? We won’t count the Somaxis Myolink (a muscle sensor that can go anywhere), so that leaves the Beartek Bluetooth Gloves, which allow remote control of your camera and phone.

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Control your devices without touching them, and stay warm to boot.Beartek

As gesture-based controls become more sophisticated, it’s likely that hand and finger wearables will become more common.

And the one device classified as “industrial” (meaning designed to improve workplace safety, productivity, and efficiency for companies in the industrial sector) is the Eyetap HDR Cybernetic Wleding Helmet:

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Tres chic.Eyetap

In addition to looking like something from a horror movie, the device records and streams real-time video from a welding booth. These streams can be used to educate and train novice welders. And because it uses an augmented vision system—it can lay instructions over your work as you do it, and enhances your vision—it improves the welder’s abilities as well. So next time you get annoyed with someone wearing Google Glass, be grateful he’s not a terrifying cyborg welder.

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