I/O 2018 kicked off a couple of days back, and the most significant announcements came in the form of Google Duplex and Assistant, a smarter Gmail, and Android P. However, perhaps the most relevant headliner of I/O for me was Google’s take on Digital Well-Being, that brings with it app usage tracking, and alerts reminding you to take a break. Read More
Let’s be clear about technology for some time: Concepts such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Machine Learning and AR / VR are pretty cool, but until their use cases can be converted from novelty to necessity, they will just remain a fad. This is the fundamental upon which concepts such as Lifelogging and The Quantified Self are based, and I’m seeing things go from “Oh look, I ran 5kms today” to “I ran 5kms today, but my pace fell at this particular stretch, owing to which I exerted myself. Maybe if I work on my pace for this stretch, I could run 8kms tomorrow.”
Surely, there’s an upper limit to the information that can be gleaned from one parameter?
Heart rate data, for all this time, has proven to be beneficial in providing data regarding a person’s blood flow and heart conditions. But then, there’s the work Cardiogram is doing. Through intensive heart rate tracking, which takes into account a neural network built around the heart rate data of millions of Apple Watch users, Cardiogram hopes to be able to diagnose and predict a host of conditions, just from heart rate data.
If there’s one thing the smart-glasses sector needs to put behind itself, it’s the term ‘Glasshole’. About five years back, when Google launched their Augmented Reality product Glass, it brought the prospect of smartphone-esque controls, without actually having to take the phone out of the pocket. Agreed, we had smart watches much before techie eye-wear made headlines, but Google Glass as a concept was new, novel, and pretty neat.
CES 2018 drew to a close a couple of weeks back, and the spotlight was on Artificial Intelligence, smart cars, and random gadgets which forced us to raise an eyebrow and ask, “Why even?”.
But more interestingly, the future of sports and fitness tech was showcased in the form of new sensors and trackers. Gamification and AI are definitely upping the ante as far as wearables and The Quantified Self is concerned. Connected fitness has some new players who are making some very impressive headlines, and embedded sensor tech is the biggest driver in this sector.
There are two ways wearables can truly evolve: one, by incorporating AI, and two, by becoming more non-obtrusive.
Wrist bands and smartwatches were (and still are) in vogue since 2014, but let’s face it – there’s only so much that OEMs and users can accomplish with a device on the wrist. It hinders user interaction with phones, might not create pathways for more seamless experiences, and is getting too common (to the point of being hackneyed, perhaps?).
So here’s the thing with wearables in general. When a new one is introduced, it comes with the prospects of new applications and improved use cases. In the consumer oriented space, things might seem to get boring after a while – a smart watch as a notifier might not really be worth it. In the health monitoring space however, things do seem to be a little more promising. But then, where do wearable cameras fit into the picture?
Virtual and Augmented Reality have had a troubled existence so far. They come with wonderful prospects, bringing in the best of technology for consumers and businesses alike. They present a solid foundation for app developers to build specialised, interactive applications, and yet the growth rate isn’t really billowing out as most headset OEMs would have hoped for.