We recently attended the Wearable Tech LA Conference to get a brand’s eye view of the wearable tech revolution. This is technology that attaches to our bodies that can sense, inform, augment, stimulate and even heal us.
The atmosphere at the WTLA was electric with ideation, a Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory of gear and toys, a meeting of brilliant humanistic hyper-technologists and a window on a magical future. Bracelets, eyewear, shoes, gloves, rings, shirts, patches, LED scarves that dazzle, sensors of all kinds, and things that are surgically implanted—all of which connect to our bodies.
As soon as something is connected to your body, it changes from being a tool to being jewelry or clothing, which are very personal and emotional. I believe that the caustic, sometimes violent, emotions associated with Google Glass is a learning moment in the evolution of wearable technology.
Our ability to pick up minor asymmetries in faces is a survival mechanism that warns us of danger, and informs us as to what others are thinking and feeling. For instance, we can tell when a dog is happy or angry.
Google Glass is asymmetrical in the place where we look to establish trust! OK, I buy the cultural baggage and clash of demographics, but this was a design failure that makers of wearable tech need to heed—design matters. That doesn’t mean you can’t have asymmetry, but know that it means something.
Companies that bring wearable technologies to market should follow Apple’s lead and hire designers who are sensitive to the nuance of taste, fashion and human fetish. I’m pleased that many of the exhibitors and panelists at the Wearable Tech LA Conference have either addressed the human connection, or are aware that it’s the next phase. I, for one, can’t wait for that to happen!