Note: this is an historical post, which I originally wrote in 2010. Some of the info is still applicable today.
What do an article in Wired magazine about attaching a sensor to your running shoe and uploading it via iPod for data analysis, a camping trip, an article about wearing video screens, a scientist husband, a discussion about wildlife parks, office work, and work by a W3C working group have in common? If you can bear with me for a moment, I’ll tell you.
We’re going to turn into walking computers. That’s what I think. This will enable us to leave cubicles and exist in our natural habitats – sans clunky laptops and the like. Crazy idea? Perhaps. Now for an explanation: here is how all this fits together (in my mind, at least).
First, a short while back I found the article on Technology Review about video screens on clothes (There’s a post about it on this blog: Use of Flexible Screens in Documentation.) Development is underway for video screens that can be “worn on wrists, and plastered on clothes.” Ok. So that’s the computer-on-clothes aspect of this.
Second, the Wired article is about how Nike and Apple have developed a sensor that you can hook on your sneaker and which uploads information about your run to the iPod you’re wearing, and you can access the data via iTunes and Nike. That’s more of the computer-on-clothes aspect, but which goes one step further: uploading data.
Third, on our recent camping trip at a lake, there was a duck family that swam around each day right by our campsite. They were in their natural habitat. My husband, in his work and in the group with which he works, focus on natural habitats. We had a family discussion at dinner the other night about wildlife parks and zoos, and I said I preferred to see creatures in their natural habitat. That made me think about office work and cubicles. Nobody likes cubicles. We would all prefer to be in our natural habitat – and an office doesn’t fit that description. Our lake campground was close to a resort town, so we saw many people in town in their natural habitat – one where they could have fun. Everyone was in casual clothes. Not a suit in sight.
Fourth, just yesterday I came across information about a W3C VoiceXML working group. I didn’t know that there was such a thing. Is there a future where one will be able to talk and have some data somehow uploaded somewhere? I haven’t read it in detail, but just the thought of it has my imagination running wild.
So here it is, all wrapped up: maybe we’ll be able to leave offices and work in our natural habitats (whatever or wherever that may be) and wear computers on our clothes, sneakers, and who knows what else, upload data via devices such as the sensor/iPod scenario, use VoiceXML for processing, and download videos and info onto our sleeves. Perhaps this could all be powered by using Velcro to strap a solar-panel strip on said sleeves. Who knows? Who needs a laptop when you just need a shirt, some sneakers and an iPod, and a mobile phone gizmo in your ear?