Where to Wear a Wearable Computer?
Before he helped Nike launch wearable computer devices such as Nike FuelBand, product designer Steve Holmes led creation of the critically acclaimed Palm Pre smartphone and the mechanical design of the iconic Apple G4 Cube.
Today, as vice president of the New Devices Group at Intel, the UC Berkeley and Stanford University graduate is helping the computer chipmaker design new technologies for the burgeoning wearable computing market, which is expected to exceed 300 million units annually by 2018, according to a recent BI Intelligence report.
In a recent interview, Holmes identified four key areas being targeted by companies designing new wearable computer technologies:
Wrist — “This is the big one,” said Holmes. “I hear people in the industry calling it the fifth screen and talk about the need to own the wrist. With buzz about Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm and others working on a wrist-based smart device or a smart watch, we’ll likely see a proliferation of devices in this category. (The Samsung Gear and Qualcomm Toq were announced after this interview was conducted.)
Eyes, ears and head – ”There are new things like Google Glass, but there are things that have been around for a while like Bluetooth headsets, which were widely adopted but recently I’ve noticed fewer people wearing them,” he said. He wonders if it might make for an interesting study that could lead to ideas for innovation.
Jewelry — As the technology gets smaller and smaller it can bring new capabilities to pieces of jewelry, according to Holmes. “There’s a company that puts a camera in a clip that you put on your shirt,” he said. “Rings are another one and even car keys, which have electronics that talk to your car and control it remotely. The amount of sophistication that it has can certainly go up.”
Shoes — “Pedometers have been around for many years, but what has changed is that you can capture that information in a frictionless way, share it in a meaningful way… you can learn from it and you can present it in an interesting way using an application running on a smartphone, tablet or laptop,” he said. “Fitbit ties into a variety of services and so does Nike +.”