Informed Librarian – Wearable Tech: What It Is, What is Available and Why Would You Use It?

My first column for the Informed Librarian was published this week. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to write the A Bit of Bytes column. I have included a bit of a taste of my column below. The column will be available in July-August here.
If your not a subscriber to the Informed Librarian I strongly recommend subscribing, the range of articles you have access to is absolutely fantastic and you get a LOT of bang for your buck.

Wearable Tech: What It Is, What is Available and Why Would You Use It?
by Alex Cato

Browsing the internet using your glasses, checking your email with a quick glance at your wrist, and keeping count of how many calories you are burning with your shoes. This functionality isn’t for the world of tomorrow, it’s all wearable technology and it is here today.

I’m Alex Cato and with my first Bit of Bytes column I’m going to give you the 411 on wearable technology; what it is, what’s available right now and help you make the decision whether you want to use it.

What is wearable technology? Despite the buzz around wearable technology (wearable tech), it’s not all that new. Wearable tech, also known as wearable computing, has been around in some form or another for a surprisingly long time. As the name suggests, the key feature of wearable tech is that it is technology worn on the body. It is a class of devices that facilitate a very close form of human-computer interaction (HCI). We are already fairly close to our technology; we carry it with us every day when we use portable devices like our phone or laptop. With wearable tech, however, the relationship is even closer since the key design feature is that it is intended to be with you constantly (in a non-creepy way).

Worn on the body, wearable tech is designed to work with and further what your body is able to do. It’s designed to integrate easily into your life by being, for example, embedded in your clothes or worn on your wrist. In short it’s designed to be close to you to make your life easier.

Now if you are a fan of science fiction please don’t start screaming from the rooftops that the cybermen are coming and will take control of everyone through our headphones. Why? Well whilst the idea of having a computer constantly on you may be a bit scary, wearable tech is not new. Renditions of wearable tech have been around since the 1960s (and earlier).


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