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The key to unlocking wearable computing

The key to unlocking wearable computing

Alexei Oreskovic reports that longer-lasting batteries are crucial for a new crop of wearable computers whose rise may upend Apple and Google’s dominance of mobile devices, according to two of the field’s pioneers.

Wearable devices – from bracelets that monitor physical activity and sleeping patterns to clothing with built-in sensors and web-ready glasses – may mark the next big technology shift, just as smartphones evolved from personal computers.

That transition has put the unglamorous battery in a starring role.

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Battery matters for wearable computer

Battery matters for wearable computer

Reuters reports that longer-lasting batteries are crucial for a new crop of wearable computers whose rise may upend Apple and Google’s dominance of mobile devices, two of the field’s pioneers say.

Wearable devices—from bracelets that monitor physical activity and sleeping patterns to clothing with built-in sensors and Web-ready glasses—may mark the next big technology shift, just as smartphones evolved from personal computers. That transition has put the unglamorous battery in a starring role.

“All this wearable stuff is constrained by battery technology. It’s not a computing problem,” Hosain Rahman, CEO of Jawbone, told the Reuters Global Technology Summit on Monday.

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Google Glass: Tech Leaders Are Ready For Wearable Computers, But Are You?

Google Glass: Tech Leaders Are Ready For Wearable Computers, But Are You?

T. Chase Meacham reports that if there was one thing on everyone’s mind at the annual All Things D tech conference held last week, it was Google Glass … and more broadly, the future of wearable computers.

For those who don’t know, a “wearable” is exactly what it sounds like — a tiny device that you wear (say, above the nose, clipped to a shirt, or on the wrist) that does one or more functions. Nike’s much-touted Fuelband was an early example, are are some watches. But with the launch of Glass, many people are looking to Google and other leaders for next steps — and some are predicting a soon-to-be exploding market for tiny wearable devices to do everything from directing us home, to snapping pictures of friends, to identifying strangers on the street.

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‘Minority Report’ in waiting: Wearable tech on the cusp of going mainstream?

‘Minority Report’ in waiting: Wearable tech on the cusp of going mainstream?

Charles Cooper reports if past is prologue, wearable computers will soon be the dominant technology we all use. Even if the hype’s getting ahead of the reality, a nascent market is notching measurable progress.

Years from now, will historians pinpoint 2013 as one of those myriad present-at-the-creation moments when a new technology entered the mainstream? When it comes to wearable computing, we’re not there yet. But it seems that we’re getting close.

Asked last week to assess the state of this nascent market, Apple’s Tim Cook described wearable computing as profoundly interesting, which might qualify as understatement of the year.

Wearable Computing Pioneer in favor of Google Glasses

Wearable Computing Pioneer in favor of Google Glasses

Rachel Metz reports that Thad Starner explains why he thinks people will soon crave the ultrafast communication and “killer existence” that Google Glass makes possible.

Few gadgets have generated as much excitement and hostility as Google Glass, a voice-activated computer-monitor combo worn on eyeglass frames. Now being tested by early adopters, Glass is an ambitious attempt to advance “wearable computing.” It’s also a milestone for Thad Starner, a Georgia Tech professor who has been building and wearing head-mounted computers since 1993. A decade ago, he showed Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin a clunky version of such a device; in 2010 they hired Starner to be a technical lead for Project Glass. He met recently with MIT Technology Review IT editor Rachel Metz.