We’ve been hearing about “wearable computing” for years. But we’re finally at a tipping point. Better batteries, miniaturization, and radical new approaches to manufacturing electronic circuits have finally made screens, computers and sensors small enough to stick just about anywhere. It no longer seems strange to see someone wearing a bracelet that records their vital signs, a watch with as much power as a cell phone, or, soon to be available, glasses that augment our reality.
Smartphones are the key to this trend. Now that we’re all carrying powerful general-purpose computers on our person, which are in easy radio range of whatever other devices we might carry, we’re creating our own personal, local cloud-computing networks. Our phones are like brains, and everything from our wireless headsets to our heart-rate monitors are their distributed nervous system.
It sounds crazy, but the cyborgification of humanity is proceeding apace. It will change how we live and how we work, and for the same reason that none of us can put down our mobile devices, we will be powerless to resist.