From Human to Cyborg

What is the big deal?

Humans are tool builders. Often times when we find one task to be inefficient and repetitive, we will invest our time in developing something that can make the job easier or more efficient. This mindset is one of the reasons our technology has advanced as far as it has since the Stone Age. As technology advances and builds off of itself, we base our behavior off the technology around us. Within the past five years, tablet computers have become commonplace in many households. As a result, many schools have taken to giving students tablets and changing the way they teach. Now, the hype about the next big thing seems to be wearable technology, or “wearables”: smart watches, smart glasses, health monitoring wristbands and other devices yet to be created that users wear on their body. As the market for this technology grows, I believe that our motives behind using technology will change from being an external way of interacting with the web to an internal substitution of certain function of our brain. As more devices are put on the market each day, they will need developers to build applications for these devices.

A infographic about potential wearable devices

These devices will change the way we design and develop applications and new devices. For instance, Google’s Android Wear is an Android platform that will help developers build apps that work on the various wearable devices. Since “wearable devices” is such a broad term, having to learn to develop for each new device that comes out would be difficult. However, having one universal platform that can be used for smart watches, smart eyewear, smart shoes, smart pants, smart whatever-you-want-to-wear will speed up the development for any wearable device. According to C-Net’s Richard Nieva(2014), another difference that could serve Google well is the way most smart watches… need to be paired with a phone to operate. These devices may become independent of the devices they are currently connected to, almost in the same way iPhones no longer need to be connected to a computer to set up and update. With this framework in place, developers, both hardware and software will have the freedom to create devices of all kinds and the creativity can flow freely to fill the spaces created by such a framework. This creative outflow will lead to a variety of wearable technology and unlimited combinations of devices interacting with each other on our bodies while we interact with them. It may even be possible for a person to be wearing a “smart outfit” where everything they are wearing is completely electronic, wearable technology. This technology may easily replace the need to use smartphones or even computers. They will connect us in ways that we may never have thought possible. Newstex Global Business(2014) examined over 160 companies and concluded:

“A small number of enabling wearable technologies will catalyse what we have termed the ‘wearable web’. At present, the ‘wearable web’ mainly comprises smart watches and smart glasses but these new product segments will fuse with others to create a trillion-dollar global industry in the future.”

It is clear that the future of wearable devices must be established now with some sort of common framework in order for the industry to expand. The companies that establish such frameworks, such as Android Wear, will become powerhouses for development as more wearable tech is released. The applications for wearable tech are diverse and allow for the growth of a new industry.

What are some types of wearables?

There are many types of wearables in existence. Here are a few of the most popular.