Starting in 2013, a new class of mobile technology came into the public spotlight. Known as “wearables,” these devices are clothing or accessory items that incorporate computers inside them. The most notable being Google Glass, a wearable computer that holds a small optical head-mounted display. Glass lets users do a variety of things including live-streaming through its camera, video chat, taking photos, browsing the internet, checking email, and a slew of other abilities.
If that’s not the future, then I don’t know what is.
Google Glass seems to be where technology is going; smaller pieces of tech that can be worn and easily forgotten about. But as cool as wearable technology is, it’s kind of off-putting. As a society that’s just getting used to the fact that over half of adults have a smartphone, I don’t think that we’re ready for something like Google Glass.
Ever since the smartphone gained grand adoption, there’s been rules, a sort of etiquette, to using it in public and in social interactions. Pulling out your phone while talking to someone is considered rude, taking pictures of people without telling them is considered creepy, and using your phone in class is, for the most part, considered taboo. These are commonly known, yet mostly unspoken, rules for using phones and mobile devices in a public setting.
Wearables, specifically Glass, fly in the face of these rules by their definition. Wearable technology is meant to always be out, so there’s never not a time when these types of devices aren’t involved in an interaction. Even if Glass isn’t always on, it appears as it is. You may know that you aren’t using your Glass, but they don’t.
They make can social interactions awkward, at least according to Mat Honan at Wired, but not as awkward as pulling out a phone. Wearables remove the effort, and shame, of taking your phone out of your pocket during an interaction. No longer will you get a look of disapproval when you answer a text while your friend is talking, they could never know. But like I said previously, the fact that the person you’re interacting with doesn’t have a clue, they may just assume you’re always using it rather than never.
I do believe, though, that wearables are the future. They even seem as though that’s where they came from; plucked off some spaceman’s face and brought back to our time. But no matter how futuristic and cool they seem, they create a divide between the outside content and personal interaction, more so than smartphones ever could.
Thankfully we have some time to figure out just how we are going to interact in a world where everyone is wearing Google Glass, or smart watches, or whatever wearable tech comes next. As of now, Glass is an invite-only purchase product. You must be apply to use Glass and only if you are accepted by Google will you be able to pay the $1500 price tag. So, it’s safe to say that it might be a couple years before wearables reach widespread adoption.
What do you think?