The World According to Tim Green: Christ no, it's wearable tech | Mobile Industry | Mobile Entertainment

The World According to Tim Green: Christ no, it's wearable tech

The World According to Tim Green: Christ no, it's wearable tech
Tim Green

by

Industry / January 10th 2013 at 2:00PM

Idiots will love the season's new range of eyewear and shoes. No one else will.

When's the last time you saw anyone wearing a BlueTooth headset? Five or six years ago loads of people wore them – and some of them weren't even wankers. But then the normals realised just how stupid they looked, and then gradually the wankers abandoned them too, leaving just estate agents and mini-cab drivers.

I have never worn a BlueTooth headset, but I'm sure they can be quite useful in some scenarios where you need to be hands-free, such as driving or defusing an unexploded bomb. So why did they disappear from the mainstream? Like I said, they can be useful. So it must be this: THEY LOOK RIDICULOUS.

This is why I believe the current vogue for wearable tech is just that – a wave of hype. I'm sure in time there will be specific use cases for these devices, but we won't see AR glasses or NFC bras replacing our handsets any time or soon. Or indeed ever.

Not everyone agrees.

A huge amount of investment is going into this crazy shit. Indeed, this week's CES show seemed to have turned into a tech version of The Clothes Show with Mike Butcher and Rory Cellan-Jones in the Anna Wintour role.

The hottest area seems to be eyewear, which for me is the biggest non-starter of all. Devices under scrutiny at CES included the Google Glass project, Visux's new Android headset and Innovega's augmented-reality contact lenses.

What all these companies are driving towards is a future in which the permanent connection offered by the smartphone is turned up to 11. In other words, your ability to photograph, share, tweet, search and – yes – watch commercial messages is permanent. It's right there in front of you.

With this kit wrapped around your forehead, you need never – oh reader with first world problems – go through the pain of (I can hardly write it) fishing out your phone and looking down.

But it's this permanent connection that's the problem. It's annoying and rude when people text and tweet when they should be talking or possibly fellating the human in front of them.

Imagine how much worse this would get with eyewear?

You'll never know whether your acquaintance is pondering thoughtfully your question about the Syrian conflict or watching cat videos. Of course, they could be Googling the Syrian conflict. In which case, is that rude or actually rather sweet?

I don't think it will get that far. The presumption of all the companies making this stuff is that we'll wear the kit all the time. But who would? It looks stupid, probably feels a bit sweaty, and God knows what kind of health problems it might store up (lawyer alert).

So we won't. If these devices are to have any future it's in the obvious areas – war, sport, porn. As I understand it, the military likes the idea of information systems that remove the need for a handheld device and thereby reduce the time it takes to kill people.

In sport, it's obvious how data-obsessed coaches and athletes might embrace watches and armbands that relay performance metrics.

And then there's the porn industry. Of course, the porn industry. It's not hard to imagine the following conversation taking place in the more liberal minded households of the future.

"Darling, have you seen my glasses?"

"Which ones? Your reading glasses?"

"No, love, the ones that move bums closer to my face."