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The Next Big Wearable Tech Trend Could Go In One Ear

One expert predicts that "hearables" -- wireless earpieces capable of delivering all sorts of information -- could become a multibillion-dollar market by 2018.

What’s the Latest Development?


As wearable tech continues to gain market traction, at least one forecaster has his eye — or, more specifically, his ear — on where devices are headed next. In a preview of a soon-to-be-published report, Nick Hunn says that wireless earpieces could become more popular than smartwatches simply because they closely resemble the all-too-familiar earbuds that are seen everywhere and often. Without a screen or similar visual element, “hearables” would deliver information in a much less intrusive way, one that Sociometric Solutions CEO Ben Waber suggests wouldn’t interfere with actual face-to-face interaction.

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What’s the Big Idea?

The technology for hearables is already here, thanks in part to improved hearing aid design and Bluetooth capability. As with any new device, one big consideration is the impact it could have on individual and social behavior. University of California-Irvine informatics professor Gloria Mark, who has researched the effects of screens on productivity, says that the seamlessness of hearables could make multitasking even faster and, possibly, more damaging. “I argue that people can’t really have deep thought about things when you’re switching that rapidly,” she says.

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Read it at NPR


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