Fashionable Wearable, Unexciting Application

As I have commented before, I’m still looking for “wearable computing” that someone would actually want to wear.

I’m sure I’m not the only one complaining, and I can see efforts to do better.

Case in point, Artemis, from Sense6 Design, “personal safety wearable […] that discretely hides inside fashionable jewelry and communicates via smartphone.”

Basically, this lets you leave your phone in your bag, and still be able to emit a call for help. A limited, but distinct use case. It’s difficult for me judge how many women a) don’t already have their phone out and/or b) think this jewelry looks good enough to be worth the price. I also can’t really say how useful this will be for personal safety. It is better than nothing, but clearly not a panacea.

I note that this and many similar products are exploiting the availability of small, efficient electronics that can talk to ubiquitous mobile phones. It’s not like this device and service couldn’t have been built twenty years ago—on a desktop or notebook computer. But now we can jam it all into a (still pretty chunky) pendant.

As the technology improves, this general idea will be available in a lot of other forms, e.g., as tiny stickers to attach to any garment or accessory or even skin. At that point, we can go back to designing fashion to be attractive (and useless), and retrofit computation and networking however you want.

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