Friday, July 8, 2016

Upcoming Wearable Tech

In this article, game designer Sande Chen previews upcoming wearable technology and how it may transform the way we live our lives.

HoloLens Photo: Microsoft Sweden
While much excitement has been generated by the potential of high-end VR devices, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, and the more affordable smartphone-using Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR, I'd like to spotlight two more technologies coming to consumers.  Microsoft HoloLens isn't VR, but what's known as "mixed reality," whereby holographic images are projected atop real environments.  If you've ever played an augmented reality game like Niantic's Ingress, then this is similar except that there's no phone.  This is a head-mounted display.

Here's a video from Microsoft that depicts uses for the HoloLens in daily life, in education, in collaborative workspaces, and in entertainment.

Google's Project Jacquard is technology woven into everyday clothes. Yes, like this upcoming first-ever "smart garment," Levi's Commuter x Jacquard.  Basically, conductive yarns can be woven into clothing, like jeans, jackets, shirts (well, anything fabric), turning them into touchscreen devices.  With the jacket, you can answer phone calls, get directions, and turn on music.  And it's machine washable.  How's that for functional?

Is there any new technology you're excited about?  Let me know in the comments!

Sande Chen is a writer and game designer whose work has spanned 10 years in the industry. Her credits include 1999 IGF winner Terminus, 2007 PC RPG of the Year The Witcher, and Wizard 101. She is one of the founding members of the IGDA Game Design SIG.


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