Matt Walker is a school aged entrepreneur who bakes cakes in order to pay for new technology, here are his thoughts on wearable tech…
With the apple watch being released in 2015 the big question is whether or not wearable technology will become the must have device of the future? In 2009 people wondered about smartphones and the concept of never losing the ability to send messages and access the internet without turning a computer on. Now it is rare to find someone who isn’t tweeting on their Iphone. However the smartwatch might risk becoming something that people don’t find necessary in everyday life.
I have been closely following the release of the moto 360 watch and I have been very tempted by the idea of buying one, however in discussion with my friends about this device I have been led to the same conclusion multiple times… “Why don’t I just use my phone?” this makes me think, not “why don’t I just use my phone?” but instead “what can a smart watch do better than a smartphone?” I believe that access to twitter and Facebook at a touch of a wrist would improve the value of the watch but what would really improve the importance of these devices would be apps specific to the device. Apps that mean you can have money and ID on your wrist, apps that turn on when you reach a location, your wrist bleeping when you walk past a shop with a sale on, apps that realise that you are on public transport and pay for your ticket as you climb on the vehicle. These are just a few suggestions that would make smartwatches more useful. Another small issue is the fact that this device is not a standalone piece and you will still need a phone to be attached via Bluetooth. To prevent the question about whether it can act as a rival for phones they could become independent with complete messaging services and games.
During the same conversation with friends we discussed the idea of google glass and the possibilities that this could provide. The idea of technology that shows the whole of the internet in front of your eyes and is available 24/7 reminds me of a tool from torchwood. In torchwood one of the heroes uses a pair of contact lenses to record an incriminating clip of the villain threatening one of the characters, however in the real world I don’t believe that people would record one another without anyone knowing as much as they do now with smartphones. I do however believe that this sort of device would become commonly used if it was more available and didn’t make people look like an idiot when it is worn. If I owned a pair of glasses that had the capability to search the internet and do all the tricks that a phone would do I would want very simple controls for it so that I wouldn’t be seen typing an invisible keyboard whenever I needed something. I am also worried that my generation will end up having stupid injuries because of being more present in a virtual world than in the real one (as seen on the Simpsons sketch where Homer gets “oogle goggles.”) If I could create an app for wearables that sit on your eyes it would be a system where if you look someone in the eyes their online presence will hover above them, this would include Facebook and Twitter accounts or possibly a new social network tailored to this sort of technology.
I see a lot of potential for this sort of technology although there is one final piece that I feel needs to be highlighted. The oculus rift headset has shown a lot of promise and I would like to buy one in the future. It is a gaming headset that immerses all your senses and makes you believe that you are directly in the game that you are playing. This is currently being adapted by the creator with a focus on horror themed video games, however I feel that it has a potential for a much larger market. One slight issue I have with the oculus rift is that people have been startled by people from the real world making contact with them whilst they are wearing the headset, this is because every sense they have is denying that the person touching them is there, the wearer can’t see them, and the wearer can’t hear them but the wearer knows they felt something! This idea for me is scarier than any fully immersive horror game (especially because I have an older brother who might exploit this!) and would be a major drawback when deciding whether to buy this. Another issue I have is that it is not a standalone device and would require expensive equipment bought with it, however the idea of google cardboard (a cardboard headset that requires only your phone) is one that appeals to me.
In conclusion I predict that some form of wearable tech will become the next big thing, I couldn’t tell you which device will be the one that is the game changer but I believe the wearables will take over and it will have an effect on society. There will be some improvements in day to day life such as the many apps that will be tailored to the devices but there will also be some negative side effects of wearable tech such as the generic “tech turns people into antisocial zombies” argument that all parents have used in their lifetime. But whichever device becomes popular I’ll end up having to bake a ton of cakes in order to afford it.