Wearable computing: the good, the bad and the ugly


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From Google Glass to the fabled iWatch, wearable computing seems to be everywhere. But is it really the big societal shift that people claim it is? This talk looked at the type of behavioural shifts to expect, triggers for change and potential barriers that may prevent change.
A brief 10 minute talk at UX Australia 2013

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  • First up, wearable computing is not a new idea. While touted as the latest greatest thing, wearable computing is based on technology that has been around for around 50 years.
  • An example is NASA’s telemetry systems that were designed to allow remote observers to assess how an astronaut’s respiration, blood pressure and other physiological functions affect their ability to perform various tasks.But while not a new concept, recent innovations in wearable computing has brought this concept mainstream.
  • Can anyone tell me what this device is?[audience interaction]Yes, this is Google Glass.For those not familiar with Google Glass, it’s wearable computing that presents information in a hands-free format. You interact with it using your voice and natural language.
  • So who actually uses Google Glass?
  • The thing with Google Glass and any type of wearable computing is that we have to move long the Technology Adoption Lifecycle Curve.For example, Google Glass has a number of innovators and early adopters, called Glass Explorers.
  • While early adopters can see future value and possibilities in wearable computing, we still need to jump the Technology Adoption “Chasm”. There are a number of potential barriers that may prevent change that designers will have to overcome.
  • One of the key barriers for wearable computing is the douchebag effect. Remember the bluetooth headset?A study conducted earlier this year by BiTE interactive indicated that only 1 in 10 American smartphone users would use Google Glass on a regular basis. 45% of respondents said that they wouldn’t use it because of it’s “awkward aesthetics”. http://mashable.com/2013/05/15/google-glass-study/
  • Another barrier to change is privacy. Truly useful wearable computing needs to become more ambient to deliver more value to the user. Wearable computing needs to go from being activity based to being ambiently aware, but this brings about the challenge of navigating the balance between privacy and utility.Until then, wearable computing remains an early adopter product with no obvious benefits to everyone else.Behavioural shifts won’t start to happen until people can clearly see a benefit of the product. There are a number of ways to do this.*** [BREATH] ***
  • One way is to market a device that does ONE primary function and does it well.
  • An example is the large range of fitness wearable computing – they do one primary thing well which is tracking your movement and sleep.The other way is to take wearable computing from the unfamiliar to the familiar.
  • To make it familiar, you need to integrate into an existing product.This example is the Pebble smartwatch, which receives notifications based on a set of rules that you set up, and you can also control music on your phone. Apparently smartphone owners look at their phones about 150 times a day. With a smartwatch, you glance at your wrist instead and take the decision on whether to interact with your phone or not.
  • The goggle uses Recon Instrument's latest HUD technology to give you performance stats like distance, speed, airtime and temperature as well as preloaded resort map information. It also features Bluetooth connectivity for displaying incoming calls, text messages, and music controls.
  • This LiveMap motorcycle helmet is an example of integrating wearable computing into the familiar – a motorcycle helmet. The helmet has a heads up display that provides navigation.
  • *** [BREATH] ***
  • ABI research predicts the market for wearable fitness activity sensors is set to explode over the next few years, with the total market predicted to reach 169.5 million devices by 2017.http://www.abiresearch.com/research/product/1015644-wearable-computing-technologies/
  • Linking of wearable computing devices with data analysis and quantified feedback is one of the biggest triggers for change. Narcissism or not, people like having data about their selves.Life loggers.
  • This is Alex Blaszczuk. She’s 26, a law student who became paralysed after a car accident in 2011. She notes that Glass doesn’t “fix” a disability, but “it is a more accessible tool for self-expression.” She can answer calls, send/receive SMSes, take her own photos and more.Google is working on two projects aimed at finding Glass applications for those with muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's disease.Source: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/google-glass-helps-paralyzed-woman-experience-life/http://mashable.com/2013/08/07/google-glass-disabled/
  • http://skift.com/2013/05/29/wearable-computing-according-to-disney-parks-boss-touts-disney-magicband/
  • Wearable computing: the good, the bad and the ugly

    1. 1. This image courtesy from Emily Steel, http://emilymsteel.tumblr.com/image/22552285620 Wearable computing: The good, the bad and the ugly @RuthEllison UX Australia 2013
    2. 2. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUX Wearable computing is not new
    3. 3. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUXArtist: Norman Rockwell, 1965
    4. 4. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUXImage source: http://www.google.com/glass/start/what-it-does/
    5. 5. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUXImage source: http://www.google.com/glass/start/what-it-does/
    6. 6. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUX Technology adoption lifecycle Image source: Craig Chelius
    7. 7. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUX Jumping the Technology Adoption “Chasm” Photo available under a creative commons licence: http://www.flickr.com/photos/suckamc/1266268216/
    8. 8. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUX The douchebag effect Image source: http://acorn-blog.blogspot.com.au/2007_09_01_archive.html
    9. 9. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUX Privacy Privacy Utility
    10. 10. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUX One (primary) function
    11. 11. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUX One function Image source: Nike, FitBit
    12. 12. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUX The familiar Image source: Pebble
    13. 13. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUX The familiar Image source: http://www.acquiremag.com/sports/ski-snowboard/oakley-airwave-goggle.php
    14. 14. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUX The familiar Image source:: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/livemap-motorbike-helmet-with-navigation?browse_v=old_no_dropdown
    15. 15. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUX The familiar Image source:: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/livemap-motorbike-helmet-with-navigation?browse_v=old_no_dropdown
    16. 16. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUX Triggers for change This image available under a creative commons licence: http://www.flickr.com/photos/josecamoessilva/653300584/
    17. 17. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUX 169.5 million fitness activity devices by 2017 Source: http://www.abiresearch.com/research/product/1015644-wearable-computing-technologies/
    18. 18. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUX Personalised health data
    19. 19. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUXImage source: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/google-glass-helps-paralyzed-woman-experience-life/ Providing independence
    20. 20. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUXImage source: https://dashburst.com/disneys-magicband-next-generation-customer-experience/ Personalising the user experience
    21. 21. @RuthEllison from @stamfordUX Unfamiliar vs. familiar Personalisation Data analysis & immediate feedback
    22. 22. Thank you :) @RuthEllison from @StamfordUX