Beyond smartphones, mobile giants Apple and Google are working on wearable computing devices that would serve as a proxy and allow its wearers to interact with either their smartphones or with the cloud. Apple had already begun testing the waters for wearable computing technology with the iPod Nano released last year where the Cupertino, California company gave third-party accessories makers ideas for creating wrist straps so that consumers can wear the diminutive portable music player on their wrists. Google, on the other hand, is still developing concepts for its wearable computing technology.
News of Google’s foray into the wearable computing market comes by way of The New York Times, which is reporting that the Android-maker has been testing prototypes and concepts in its Google X Labs. The company also had in recent years recruited wearable computing experts from top research universities, Nokia Labs, and Apple to help it with development.
Unlike Apple’s wristwatch endeavors, Google is working on embedding screens within goggles or thick-rimmed glasses, allowing users to tap content and information quickly from an Android smartphone or from the cloud without having to pull out the phone from their pockets.
As Google had recruited Dr. Richard DuVaul, Ph.D. from Apple to develop wearable computing devices, 9to5 Google postulates that the company may be moving forward with a google-like concept due to DuVaul’s research focus:
His dissertation was on “The Memory Glasses“, a heads-up display focused on the problems associated with wearable memory support technology. This included hardware and software architectures, and low-attention human-computer interaction for wearable computing, including the use of subliminal visual cues for just-in-time memory support.
Apple, however, isn’t sitting still. It has reserved a small number of employees to help conceptualize and prototype the next generation of wearable gadgets, with the latest prototype potentially being a curved iPod Touch that users can wear on their wrist and communicate and control using voice controls through Siri.
Through advancements made in flexible displays, high resolution screens, and nano computing, wearable computing devices will certainly be a possibility in the future. While Apple and Google may want to position wearable computing devices as a hub or central experience of your mobile world, a company called Recon Instruments is already commercializing a wearable computing peripheral that allows snowboarders to have access to GPS and ski conditions through wearable ski goggles that provide an augmented reality experience.
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