“Wearable” doesn’t just mean clothing and accessories: from Brazil, “Body Surface Computing”. The same idea, but more intimate than “smart clothing”, this is clearly one of the waves of the future.
Katia Vega and Hugo Fuks have demonstrate instrumented eyelashes, that detect blinking motions. This can be used as an assistive technology or as an unobtrusive expressive interface. This is a similar effect to visual monitoring of eye motion (e.g., Eyewriter), though it will work in the dark and the hardware is all attached to the body, which may be more convenient.
They also have some RF enabled fingernail appliques. These provide an interface that is a combination of “swipe” (with phone or watch) and Kinnect gesture. Again, this technology works in the dark, is less obtrusive than even a watch, and looks great (if that is your look).
My favorite is their body paint interface. The prototype is kind of clunky, but you can clearly see where this is headed. Cool!
As they point out in their article, these “wearables” are interesting because they more intimate and permanent than clothing or watches, but less invasive than implants. They also play into human expression via personal adornment. Why should interfaces be ugly? Why shouldn’t personal computing be a form of personal expression?
We may quickly come to accept implants, but I like “Beauty Technology”.
I would also note that this low tech approach is pioneering ideas that will only work better as technology improves and new materials come on line.
- Vega, K. and H. Fuks, Beauty Technology: Body Surface Computing. Computer, 47 (4):71-75, 2014. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/articleDetails.jsp?arnumber=6798647