Episode 0025 - A Dork With A Watch

Should we wear our tech? This time we discuss the Galaxy Gear and other ways we human try to mimic the Borg. Wearable Computing is here, do we want it?

Podcast: Download OGG (45.3 MB) | Download mp3 (72.7 MB) | Duration: 01:22:00

"The things we wear on our bodies are an extension of ourselves -- a signifier of personality, gender, age, style, background and everything else that makes us who we are." -- Belindar Parmar, CEO of Lady Geek
One Cool Thing
Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch
"Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch" Original (CC BY 2.0) by Karlis Dambrans.

Finally, our hosts arrive at the All In IT Radio Space Station (AIITRSS?) to take a better look at today's world of technology. This time the center of attention is wearable technology, and who else to give us insight than John-Erik Eriksson! He's the proud owner and user of the Samsung Galaxy Gear, a new smartwatch to go with your Samsung smartphone. John-Erik describes it as a well-built device with great display, better battery life than expected and a build quality you could expect from a watch. The price of the device, about 2000SEK, is definitely understandable when looking on the tech specs (4GB internal memory, 512MB RAM, 1.9MP camers, 720p video recording...), but according to John-Erik he would never buy it separately, as he got it bundled with his new Galaxy Note 3. Also, the list of supported devices for the Galaxy Gear isn't that big, only mentioning Samsung devices such as Note 2, Note 3, S3 and S4. John-Erik is impressed with the technology, but concludes by saying that the Galaxy Gear is not for everyone, especially not himself. Kenneth, Robin and Henrik agree that the price might not be that bad, considering the amount of money people spend on ordinary watches. Robin would like to see more well-designed smartwatches that looks and feels more like an ordinary watch, rather than a small screen slapped on a wristband.

Next, the guys continue to look deeper into the wearable technology, discussing products and technologies such as Google Glass, smart contact lenses, training wrist bands, Pebble, ski goggles with HUD (Heads-Up Display) and even smart bras. Robin is very interested in the possibility of wearable tech in your daily training and fitness routines. Henrik mentions Google Glass as one of the most impressive things, but recalls things like helmet mounted cameras (e.g. GoPro) being used since the early 00's in motor sports and ski slopes. All agrees on the note that stuff like smart watches still are in the early stages, not performing that great and looks bulky, poorly designed or just plain ugly. Another note from Kenneth is that wearable technology should in some way interact with your body, mentioning Google's contact lenses for diabetics as an example. Henrik mentions that wearable tech should be easy to interact with in your everday life, not stealing too much attention or active thinking.

On the question of what wearable technology they would actually use, John-Erik mentions a motorcycle helmet with built-in GPS system and HUD, a fully voice controlled smartphone and an Ironman suit(!) Henrik really likes the ski goggles from Oakley and Recon Instruments, with a HUD, GPS, smartphone connectivity and built-in camera. He also remembers owning a piece of wearable technology, the T-Qualizer, a t-shirt with built-in equalizer displaying the audio volume. Kenneth wants a Direct Neural Interface, to connect his brain straight to the Internet.

Another aspect of wearable technology discussed in this episode is regarding open vs closed source code, vulnerability and data privacy. What happens when your life-depending device, a surgically placed heart defibrillator mentioned as example, stops working and you need to fix it but the device builds on closed source code? Can your smart refridgerator get hacked and send spam to the neighbours? Is your data from those afternoon exercises uploaded to Google and used in marketing? As always, the future looks bright and scary.

Links mentioned in todays show
Let us wrap this up!

Send your feedback to the group !aiitr at Identi.ca or mark it with hashtag #aiitr at Twitter, you find me at both Identi.ca and Twitter as @AlltInomIT. Henrik you find at @Warpfuz, Robin at @RobinHarming and we recommend that you use G+ to reach John-Erik.

Theme music today by Ohmy's Sounds.
Music is released under Creative Commons BY 3.0.

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