Wearable Experiments

Fri Oct 11 2013

This morning I had the privilege of listening to Ben Moir of Wearable Experiments talk about the future of the wearable electronics industry. Getting up this morning for Geek Breakfast AU, I had no idea that I'd be watching a video about helping people grab boobs and crotches over the internet (#hashtag #theinternetisforporn)!

I've been playing with electronics since I was about 5. My office is filled with XBees, Arduinos, sample chips and components. Sadly, the time never seems to be balanced right. I'm either working on awesome apps doing nothing with electronics or I'm working on boring apps that require me to vent my creative urges with electronics.

Ben's advice to apps makers is to get into the hardware industry. The reason the iPhone has grafted itself into our lives, he says, is because it's filled with all kinds of sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope, compass etc) that tap into real life. He encourages developers to reach out and connect to other hardware devices. The tangible market is where it's at.

So what more excuse do you need to buy that tinker toy? Arduino, XBee, Spark Core, Melon Headband - now they're all business expenses. Go forth and make apps with things, Ben says, that detect the temperature in your house, that detect when you enter the front door, things that augment experiences - that share another person's heartbeat or vision. Go forth and integrate with people's lives for real.

I think that be best kind of inventions and advances in technology stem from a new way of looking at an existing problem. If you want to start your journey over the software-hardware bridge, I say solve a problem in your own space. Is there something that you do regularly that takes more time than it could? Some menial task that you'd rather pay for in batteries? Something that your spouse has been nagging at you to fix? If your creation solves a problem that is relevant to you, you are making something that shows insight and understanding of the core issue. You're making something that you will want to maintain and make better because it serves you. And because human beings tend to share problems and habits, everyone else who has that problem will benefit should you decide to make your creation public.

You can follow Wearable Experiments on Twitter or check out their site. If you're interested in chatting about software-hardware projects or any of the tech mentioned here, hit me up.

EDIT: Here's the wearable market breakdown graphic used in this morning's talk (thanks, Ben!).

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