This month, I've talked with many technical gurus about the trends and challenges in wearable devices. (I'll post some of those stories shortly). The comments from the hard-core science and engineering communities made me wonder what the visionaries in the sci-fi world would have to say. I asked and they responded!
Just for fun, I asked the Sci-Fi community for their thoughts on the future of wearable technology. The responses ranged from the far-out to the retro and from the quirky to the deeply insightful. The only problem was that I couldn't resist adding to their comments. Perhaps you’ll find it equally difficult to withhold your own opinions? – JB
Walter Knight, “America’s Galactic Foreign Legion” series: The most obvious wearable technology I’ve explored in my “America’s Galactic Foreign Legion” science fiction series is the helmet camera, a reality now. Soldiers, police officers, security guards, etc wear the cameras at work. Soon, everyone will be wearing these cameras on errands and vacations. We've already seen many news reports showing biker helmet cameras and dash camera.
Privacy concerns are now focused on those the cameras encounter and government intrusion. But I’m more concerned with the privacy of the wearer of the camera. What if an employer insists all employees wear the cameras? Will your union go along with that? What about bathroom breaks? Cheating at work? Picking your nose and flatulence? Political correctness? It all gets recorded. Fortunately, there is a low-tech solution if this scenario becomes reality. Duct tape over the camera lens. Ha! Another use for duct tape!
Response from JB: Don’t forget your sentient ATM! That’s sort-of wearable from the perspective of the robot.
Jonathan Howard, Author of the Johannes Cabal, Russalka Chronicles, & Goon Squad series: I can’t honestly say it’s (wearable technology) anything I've ever given much thought to, although whoever invents heat-sensitive cloth that moderates its insulating qualities depending on the temperature of the wearer will do very well.
Response from JB: Here’s a bizarre example of a thermal clothing app. It might spark a new product line, e.g., liver damage for drinkers, heart trouble for overweight, “I’m lying” for – well, you get it.
See all comments here, including a reference to ARM's Well_Cow "wearable."