Future Tech
Just in case you're thinking that any of this is new:

by Scott Billups

The first time I met Steve Mann was when I was giving a talk on digital innovation in the film and television industry to members of Nicholas Negroponte’s Media Lab at MIT. Steve came walking down the hall wearing a bunch of his wearable computing gear and I was all strapped up, lugging the new digital camcorder prototype that I was working on ... geeks.

Meeting Negroponte was truly significant, but the lasting impression, the one that sticks with me to this day, is the vision of Steve Mann, walking toward me with his hand outstretched and that look of eminent discovery.

“We will wear a 'glass' over our right eye and we will see through that glass. It will change forever the way we view the world.”

And no, it's the guy on the left. Steve holds a PhD in Media Arts (1997) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.Sc., B.Eng. and M.Eng. from McMaster University. He is a tenured full professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto.

“The reason you should put a wearable on your body is because it’s useful, and solves a problem.”

It’s really that simple.

Well, almost. Here's a little Top 10 list of design principles compiled from luminaries like Steve Mann, Marcus Weller, Chuck Colby, Sean White and others that really stands the test of time:

1. Solves a recurring problem for the person. to be worn, the problem the wearable device purports to solve should be substantive, recurrent, and easily articulated in a sentence.

2. Starts from the human, not the machine. Wearable technology design should start from a human problem, and then evaluate several viable technology solutions. It should not start from a particular technology solution looking for places to impose its presence.

3. Requests attention, does not demand it. Because it is with you everywhere, wearable tech should honor the present moment, not distract from it. In doing so, it permits the wearer to remain in the moment, and for others around the wearer to do the same.

4. Enhances human capabilities, does not replace them. It should make the wearer better able to consume and experience the world, not replace or intervene with the wearer’s opportunity to experience it.

5. Creates a net negative number of problems. In rendering a wearable solution, it should eliminate more problems than it introduces to one’s life.

6. Enables deep and broad connectivity. It should enable broad networks of platforms. Not only should wearable devices communicate with each other, but they should also enable the broader systems and platforms upon which they are based to interface with one another.

7. Serves the software. Scale and flexibility are more readily achieved when wearable hardware both serves, and is served by the software. As the wearer’s needs adjust or their context changes, the hardware can remain static while the software platform can quickly evolve.

8. Weniger, aber breiter. (less but broader) Wearable hardware should strive to reduce its footprint while the wearable software platforms continue to broaden and expand. This maximizes wearable technology’s impact and utility across an expansive universe of applications.

9. Capitalizes on existing behavior. To earn the privilege of being worn, wearable design should evoke a feeling of the device as a natural extension of the person. It should not require the person to adapt or force new behavior.

10. Augments the things we love, and automates the things we don’t. It should enhance our favorite experiences, making them richer and more memorable while using automation to create more time to do the things we love.

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