Beautiful Pervasive World: Wearable Devices

Having seen nothing but my dissertation in the last 6 months, I have been tremendously enjoying an opportunity to scale back on writing and to catch up with the state of the world of innovative pervasive and mobile technology.

Oh, what a beautiful world it is! In the wearable space alone,Β 

  • The potential of wearable computing was recently highlighted in the Mary Meeker’s 2013 Internet Trends Report,
  • Rumors of Apple iWatch have been persisting and multiplying, and
  • Our convocation speaker, Sebastian Thrun, was wearing Google Glass throughout the ceremonies. Which was triple-exciting for me because Sebastian was a speaker at the 2012 Google Scholars Retreat I attended last year, too πŸ™‚ — it was really nice to see him at the convocation. After the ceremonies, I e-mailed Sebastian to thank him for hisΒ  speech, and he e-mailed me back in under a minute – perhaps it was the Google Glass that enabled such a quick response? πŸ™‚

Sebastian Thrun wearing Google Glass at our convocation:


Within the academic domain, the implications of wearable computing on academic research were recently touched upon by Andrew Campbell, whose keynote at IEEE SECON’13 focuses on the future of mobile sensing, and Matt Welsch, who identifies wearable computing platforms’ challenges as an important area of exploration for the systems community.

While these developments deal with the emerging smart wearable devices, it is interesting to note that the deployments of straightforward RFIDs continue to make strides as well. For example,

  • Disney is starting to roll out MagicBands, RFID-enabled bracelets that Disney park visitors will be able to use for everything, generating troves of data for Disney’s business units and getting data lovers – self included πŸ™‚ – understandably excited , and
  • In personal day-to-day things, a few years back to track runner’s race timing, running races required a bulky awkward ankle chip, while now race authorities often don’t even bother going into any depths about there being an RFID chip in runner’s bib ( “In the past the transponder was almost always worn on the athletes running shoe, or on an ankle band. This enabled the transponder to be read best on antenna mats because the distance between the transponder and readers antenna is minimized offering the best capture rate…. In the past 5 years the newer UHF systems use transponders placed on the shoe lace, or stuck to the race number bib“–
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