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…while there are new devices entering the market, and we are not going to be stuck with slab phone as the only choice, we are going to see an augmentation of the range of devices that people can choose from.

In Wearable vs Bearable technology. Roy C Davies says technology companies are playing with the way computing power is dished up. Apple, Google and Samsung are experimenting with wearable devices.

This isn’t new. Companies have tinkered with the watch format for 30 years, I remember virtual reality glasses. None of these technologies have taken off in the past. Maybe the time is ripe now, maybe it isn’t.

Speech recognition is probably good enough for us to do away with other forms of input. 4G mobile data could be a turning point.  Or we could be heading down a new set of dead ends.

What’s clear is that if we see a wave of new wearable devices there will be far more duds than winners. Play with the new formats by all means – don’t bank on any of them yet.

11 thoughts on “Wearable, bearable technology

  1. Google have shown you don’t need a data connection for speech recognition, but it is far, far from usable as a main form of input/output. Just try and use it with the tv going or the radio in the car or at the shops with people chatting all around you.

      • Hell, even I get it stumped, especially on local words. Just because it knows English (New Zealand) doesn’t mean it knows where Ngaruawahia is, lol.

    • I would also like to point out it is probably very hard to have custom words, at least compared to how easy it is to augment a keyboard’s dictionary. I will say I have seen Microsoft demonstrate automatic emoticons from voice inflection.

  2. To be fair, I have had surprising success dictating text messages using Siri on my iPhone. I’ve been a skeptic based on historic experiences with dictation software. I don’t think Siri has been programmed for my Kiwi accent either.

    Appreciated the pun as well Bill, I like it when journos use a bit of creativity in their prose:)

  3. I have used Dragon to write entire reports, but precise dictation can be more tiring than using the keyboard…so I don’t use speech recognition unless I’m really distracted.On devices, it will be interesting to see what Apple will do with glasses, as they validate devices and bring a huge crowd. Post Jobs, though, they may no longer have this capability. Then, there’s the watch thing, which provides a similar opportunity to see how the market goes, but will happen sooner. Better than the soaps!

  4. What we need for speedy text input whilst on the move is a ‘Virtual Chord Keyboard’. Chord keyboards usually have one key per finger, and letters, numbers and symbols are typed using several fingers at once. A Virtual one uses finger tracking (small wires that go along the fingers) so that as you bend your fingers, it registers as a ‘keypress’. So, no actual keyboard required; you just type in the air, as it were, with one hand.

    Chord keyboards are fast – stenographers use them to record speech in courts, for example.

    Problem would be the rather steep learning curve.

    • I remember seeing a chording keyboard demonstration in 1981 in London. At that time the device was the size of a hard back book and had a power cable and, I’m guessing here, an RS232 or similar to connect it to a computer.

      It worked brilliantly and much faster than qwerty. I think the company sold some to court reporters, by now the same technology could be incredible – but it simply didn’t sell.

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