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Maxwell Smart would love the wearable tech

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POSTED October 5, 2013 1:36 a.m.

There he was.

Some Steve Jobs wannabe wearing his little watch computer as he surfed the Internet  while proclaiming to a KRON-TV reporter that Google Glasses were so yesterday.

I didn’t catch the name of the conference KRON was covering. It was some technology startup gathering du jour in San Francisco.

The guy was boldly predicting everyone would be wearing wrist computers within a year.

“These make so much sense,” he said. “It helps save you a full five seconds to answer a call or take a photo.”

Makes sense. That means you have more times to devote to your virtual life on the Internet.

Another techie entrepreneur wasn’t so sure that Google Glass was already past its prime. He was starting up a firm that sells designer frames for Google Glasses. No, these aren’t Ray-Ban or Bolle that offers what definitely today would pass as reserved frame designs. They were in bright neon colors with some having temples with sports logos such as the San Francisco Giants.

“People are looking right at you when you are wearing Google Glasses,” the glass guy said. “Customized Google Glasses can tell people who you are.”

Like they need any help with that given that someone who would walk around with Google Glasses costing $1,200 with a smart-watch worth $400 strapped to their wrist isn’t telling the world they’re a bit self-absorbed. At the very least it’s telling street thugs you’re an easy mark because you are distracted by technology and not noticing your surroundings; that you probably also have a nice $600 smartphone on you they can steal along with the Google Glasses and smart-watch.

Wearable technology is the equivalent of taping six or so hundred dollar bills to your clothing and walking down the street daring people to steal it from you. Just in case the techies haven’t noticed smartphones are the No. 1 theft items in virtually every major American city. Snatching a smart-watch will certainly fetch more than stealing a Rolex, while Google Glasses will generate more cash for a thief than an expensive pair of shades.

The drawbacks of serving as a walking ATM for gang members or some meth head aside, wearable technology is aimed squarely at people who spend 20 hours a day holed up in an office doubling as a playpen who believe everyone in the world wants to be like them.

It helps explain why Mark Zuckerberg believes what 3 billion or so people worldwide in severe poverty who often don’t have safe water to drink, access to health care or basic sanitation, and are starving need first and foremost is access to the Internet so they can have a Facebook page.

Are consumers really willing to spend $400 for a smart-watch just so they can answer a cell call five seconds quicker?

But it’s so cool, right? You look like Dick Tracy just as borderline geeks and geeks alike fancied themselves using Star Trek transponders when flip phones came out.

It’s amazing someone wasn’t hawking a shoe phone at the emerging technology gathering. Somehow it seems someone who is enamored with wearable technology would love being a real Maxwell Smart. And if they don’t know who Maxwell Smart is they can always tell their smartphone in their pocket via bluetooth technology or their smart-watch to Google Maxwell Smart.

Another techie inventor interviewed by KRON was pushing wearable technology that monitors your heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature complete with displays you can constantly check.

And certainly the world can’t wait to buy the wearable technology device the inventor proclaimed constantly monitors your reaction to things such as movies.

“This way you will know what part of a movie you liked instead of simply your opinion of just the entire film,” the techie said.

The techie told KRON it would help those that provide – read that sell – entertainment to figure out what exactly you’d like best and offer it up to you.

In other words, technology can create a nice cocoon or keep you in a virtual shell by making it possible to avoid new things you know nothing about since you already know what you like. Kind of takes the guess work and chance out of life.

But then again that’s what Internet dating services already claim to be doing. The world would be so much better if we never come out of our comfort zone whether it is in our real or virtual lives.

All of this points to the next big thing in wearable technology – accident avoidance radar.

Since a lot of people are going to be either texting, talking into their smart-watch, shooting video with their Google Glasses, monitoring their vitals or constantly checking a device to see how they are reacting to whatever that particular moment they are going to need some help making sure they don’t step off the curb and into the path of a driverless car just 10 feet away traveling at 25 mph with a guy behind the wheel who has fingers from both hands texting away. They can make a driverless car but they can’t make it stop any faster than the laws of physics allow.

Such a device would also allow the user to avoid making any human contact – eye-to-eye or otherwise – with people as they walk down the street.

Actually, such technology already exists. It’s called smartphones.





This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209-249-3519.

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