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Wither the Wearable Device - Back to The Future or Onward?

Can Apple do it? Though it sounds like a grand idea, the wearable wrist phone/device hasn’t been exactly burning up the cash registers… — oops, computer terminals — with sales of the Samsung smartwatch or other from Garmin and Misfit. It has been reported that sales have been tepid at best with the technology so far simply offering a smaller screen and limited options compared the smartphone or tablet.

With the Apple’s recent press event, CEO Tim Cook has announced the development of an iwatch. The hope is that Apple’s brilliance at rebranding and finessing ideas and devices will lead to something that justifies its wearability as a necessity not an annoyance.

Maybe it’s because millennials and the generation on have less experience wearing watches since the mechanical form are more of display of opulence rather than of practicality and the low price digital versions have been superseded by many other devices.

Okay so I am now dating myself forever by holding the image of a 1930s comic strip detective Dick Tracy with his arm up to his face talking into his wrist device. Tracy was a pretty crusty character and so was his creator Chester Gould yet this print creation envisioned a technology that is only now coming to fruition as Samsung and other companies jump into the space.

Years ago sci-fi author John Shirley envisioned a future rock band who wore their instruments — their bodies in effect played the music — and French film director Bertrand Tavernier released Death Watch, a near-future film starring Harvey Keitel as a man who has had his eyes replaced by micro cameras so he records and broadcast everything he sees and experience. The only downside — he really couldn’t sleep very well, to say the least.

That not withstanding, wearable devices step forward as one of those tech trends that will continue to evolve as we look to use our bodies as power sources, something to document and transform by collected data (temperature, blood pressure, salinity, speed, walking pace , etc.) and to be augmented with externally (google glasses) or directly through bionic devices that either replace or supplement limbs and organs.

The ultimate silicon/carbon interface is the development of nano-machines that are digest or injected into the body and provide life extension or physical enhancement that might create virtual super-people. Super soldiers, robo cops or terminators are neither far fetched or far off.

And not much further down the line on the horizon with be brain enhancing interfaces that will allow for virtual telepathy or levitation/telekinesis. With light bending fabrics even “invisibility” will be possible. There are even new technologies that allow for fabrics to be worn couple with micro cameras that screen images which create a real time camouflage.

What will a future CES or CE Week be like when these devices and tools fully come to market. That’s both a mind-blowing and scary thought. 

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