Students debate marketability of wearable technology

Written by: 
Samone Isom ~ Multimedia Journalist

Tech developers flocked to a wearable technology conference and fashion show held in San Francisco in September showcasing the latest technological devices. Gadgets on display included music players that choose songs to match your heartbeat, jewelry designed to track calorie burning, and the highly publicized Google glass, a wearable computer with a optical head-mounted display.

"We're talking about paradigm changing devices," said Georgia Tech professor Thad Starner, a consultant to the Google Glass project.

“It’s finally happening! Stuff from movies. Freaks me out a little bit,” said recent graduate Sara Ikonen from Finland when she heard about the capabilities of Google glass. Google glass boasts all the abilities of a smart phone in the form of eyeglasses with voice commands.

Looking at how attached people are to their personal devices, and how the gap between people and technology is closing yearly, the experts in San Diego, like Ritch Blasi, think that people might become something like a cyborg, said AP.

However, some BYUH students don’t think the technology will have the large social effect Starner and Blasi predict. “I don’t want to be constantly connected to the Internet. If something like the scifi movies happen, it won’t be in our lifetime. I’m not worried about it taking over,” said Stephanie Young, a social work senior from Oregon.

“It sounds annoying,” said Akihiko Ikeda, an undeclared freshman from Japan, when he heard about the ability of Google glass to place an image right in front of your eyes. “Sounds like anime. I don’t think it’ll be popular. A real world like science fiction could happen, but not in the next 100 years,” said Ikeda.

Elementary education sophomore and California native Tonie Castro doesn’t see how something like Google glass is all that different from cellphones. “Kids already always look down at their phone. It won’t make much difference.”

Ikeda said true advances in technology are absent from a market that is flooded with recycled ideas. “The speed of developing has been decreasing. The same things keep coming out, just changed the form,” said Ikeda.

Manish Chandra, a tech entrepreneur at the conference, is optimistic about wearable technology. "Everyone agrees the race is just beginning, and I think we're going to see some very, very big leaps in just the next year."