While it will probably go unnoticed by most Americans, the World Wide Web is having its 25th anniversary this year. For many Americans, the Internet has always been there while for the rest, it’s one of the megatrends that our planet has had over the centuries with an impact as huge as fire, the wheel, and the printing press. The Internet was adopted quickly by Americans and most users have a positive opinion about its role in their lives. A recent report by the Pew Research Center found that respondents felt that the Internet will “…become like electricity-less visible even as it becomes more important in people’s daily lives.”
The Internet has spawned many other things too numerous to mention here but let it suffice to say that there is little in a person’s daily life that is not touched in some way by the Internet.
The latest Internet-related trend coming down the pike is wearable electronics. Google Glass is the most talked-about product in this category, but there are others…and there have been some on the market already. Remember Oakley’s Thump with the MP3 player in the temples? Okay, it’s not Internet-capable but it’s a wearable electronic device.
Eyeglasses are a logical carrier for wearable electronics. Just think of how wonderfully helpful and convenient it would be to have a display in your eyeglasses or on the back of your lenses that provides information. Sure, Google Glass and competing products are a bit clunky at this point but so were the first home radio units and television sets. Experts predict wearable electronics will disappear into what we wear as they become miniaturized in the next 10 years or so. You’ll also find wearable electronic devices heavily networked and interconnected. With all this capability and networking, people will use multiple wearable electronic devices instead of a single one that attempts to do everything, and these multiple devices will communicate and network with each other via networks and the Internet.
The opportunities are nearly limitless. Think about checking in patients without filling out forms-they simply hold out their hand which has an embedded chip with this information in it and the form completes itself. Want daily data on a patient’s intraocular pressure? No problem-a chip implanted in their eye sends the data four times a day to their file in your software. Want to know if a child is wearing their prism lenses for their strabismus? A chip in their specs reports the times they were worn and not worn.
Like it or not, wearable electronics are coming.
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