Google’s Project Glass, in which all the functions of your smart phone are moved to a digital display in a pair of glasses, is perhaps the most high-profile piece of wearable technology. Apple has recently applied for similar patients, and industry insiders say the forthcoming smart watch will make accessing all your smartphone functions easier still. “And all of these wearable systems, from the smartphone up to Glass are designed to do one thing: deliver information to you while you’re on the move. Or standing still, for that matter, because you’re wearing them more and more of the time.”
Subscribe for counterintuitive, surprising, and impactful stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday
What’s the Big Idea?
The sorts of novelties that seem obvious (and frivolous) thanks to wearable tech, such as reading emails while you brew coffee or posting tweets while you jog, are not actually why wearable devices will prove useful. “…the real benefit of wearable computing is a little like the real reason Groupon exists: It’s not to sell you discount coupons, but to alert you to nearby products and services that you may not have encountered before, with a price-discount incentive, in the hope that you deliver more trade to that merchant in the future.” Wearable computers will be the device that enables the new discovery economy.