Wearable/Personal Tech Concepts

I’ve been sounding off about the paucity of good apps for wearable computing technology.  It’s not really fair to beef about other people’s work, if I don’t have anything positive of my own to offer, is it?

So let me throw out some concepts I may develop any day now. I admit these are pure vaporware at this time, but we have to start somewhere. If you steal these ideas, please be so good as to let me know how they work out, and perhaps credit me. (I leave out the many obvious “dildonic” applications.)

My main point in previous comments, of course, is that it is early days, and no one really knows what this tech is for or how to use it really well.  (We had hand held computers for 15 years before we started getting decent apps for them–and we still have very few really good apps for handheld computers.)

One design principle to note:  A lot of my thinking is about socially aware apps that detect (promote, invite) the face-to-face presence of very specific people, i.e., significant friends, lovers, family members, etc. (The more general principle:  wearable computing occurs in a real world social setting, and must be something other than a web-browser-on-m-watch.)

Detection of nearby devices is certainly possible, as is networking to phones and other devices when needed.  Face and body detection can be assumed, and probably voice detection as well. So the key design problem is to figure out what sorts of enhancements are valuable (ideally, in a novel way) in this context, and how to customize for each individual/dyad/etc.

“Look at me, not my outfit” clothing & makeup

Lots of smart clothing creates displays to show off and attract attention-to the clothing. Let’s turn that around.  When two lovers/whatever are together, they want to look each other in the eye, and otherwise attend to the person, not the clothing.  (And if he/she is more interested in your outfit than you, maybe there is a problem, no?)

So, my outfit features flashy colors, LEDs, etc, which make a bold “look at me” statement. (This might include smart makeup, and personal projectors.)  But when I sit down with my special someone wearing her/his similar outfit, the clothing fades back, easing toward similar neutral state, bringing out our faces, hands, and so on.  Note that this is particularly relevant for “smart makeup”, which should alter from “look at my makeup” to “look at me” mode.

Depending on the design, there might also be subtle enhancements. A collar that gently lights up your face, especially your eyes. Patterns that draw the eyes up to the face.  Etc.  Potentially, this could be aware of the position of the “target” other, knowing when the front, rear, or profile is in view.

“Our fantasy world” 2 Person AR

Forget mass market, this is a 3D immersive world with only two (or some small number) of people who can enter and who build the story together. Just as important the world is only accessible via tabletop (or other intimate) Augmented Reality, and only if the 2 (or whatever) people are present F2F. The interface assures that whatever happens in this world is only available to the small number of people it is for.

This doesn’t have to be wearable, but wearables would be very useful for detecting the “togetherness” state, and for the individualized interface. I.e., there are only two devices (wrist band? pin? key fob?) that have the data for this shared world, and both have to be within 2 meters to activate it.

The AR enables the “world” to be visible (but only to “us”) anywhere, not just on screen. Thus, on the table at a coffehouse, for instance.

Possible cool feature.  “Handing” a piece or the whole world to the other person.

Usage:  part of creating a personal story together. Invisible friends. Salted with memories, shared fantasies, dreams for the future.

PA Raptor, AKA “Eric”

Not exactly wearable, but certainly personal tech.

I’ve always wanted one (or more) of those robot raptors. But I want mine to imprint on me and follow like a baby bird.  I mean, as I waltz into the meeting, there is an entourage of raptors at my heals!  They follow as a flock, ignoring everyone but me. Awesome!

I also imagine that these are my PAs.  They carry my phone and other stuff for me,  When the phone rings I reach down and Eric (the raptor)) trots over and hands it to me. It could run out for coffee!  Whisper in my ear about upcoming appointments. Hold the door for me.  Save my seat–you aren’t going to mess with a raptor, are you?

Worst case, Eric could fight other PAs to assure my own priority, and chase off paparazzi and their robots.  (If I’m going to have a PA, why not endow myself with robot enhanced media stalkers?)

The imprinting and following would be helped by a wearable beacon for Eric to follow me.

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