Tags: wear | clothing | work | computer

What to Wear to Work? Soon, a Tiny Computer

Wednesday, 06 July 2016 05:33 AM

The wearable technology startups that get attention make products a Silicon Valley executive or journalist might use -- fitness trackers, virtual-reality gaming headsets, jewelry that delivers text-message alerts. It’s lifestyle stuff. But wearable development in the near future depends on more workaday equipment.

Call them work-wearables: computers worn on the body that help get the job done. Think smart glasses displays for manufacturing workers following complex assembly directions; voice-activated clip-on computers that help store clerks check inventories; or caps with sensors that make sure long-distance truckers aren’t dozing off. Google’s Project Jacquard recently acknowledged the work-wearables market with a partnership to weave conductive yarn into uniforms made by Cintas. Judging from the companies’ talk about health care, hospital scrubs seem a likely first target.

As a business proposition, work-wearables offer advantages over the better-known consumer-oriented products.

For many people, therefore, the workplace will be where they first regularly use wearable technology. Like the old putty-colored personal computers, the early devices may not be especially attractive. But if they prove their usefulness, they’ll “earn their place on the body” and inspire demand for more appealing consumer-oriented gadgets to come.

Virginia Postrel writes about commerce and culture, innovation, economics, and public policy. She's the author of "The Power of Glamour," "The Future and Its Enemies" and "The Substance of Style." To read more of her commentary, GO HERE NOW.


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The wearable technology startups that get attention make products a Silicon Valley executive or journalist might use -- fitness trackers, virtual-reality gaming headsets, jewelry that delivers text-message alerts. It's lifestyle stuff. But wearable development in the near...
wear, clothing, work, computer
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2016-33-06
Wednesday, 06 July 2016 05:33 AM
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