Email Login
Community
News | Research | DeepLearning | Seminar | Q&A

What to wear to work? Soon, a tiny computer

GreatMind 2016.07.07 10:48 조회 수 : 1350

Work-wearables are computers worn on the body that help get the job done. Photo / Getty Images Work-wearables are computers worn on the body that help get the job done. Photo / Getty Images

The wearable technology startups that get attention make products a Silicon Valley executive or journalist might use -- fitness trackers, virtual-reality gaming headsets, jewelry that delivers text-message alerts. It's lifestyle stuff. But wearable development in the near future depends on more workaday equipment.

Call them work-wearables: computers worn on the body that help get the job done. Think smart glasses displays for manufacturing workers following complex assembly directions; voice-activated clip-on computers that help store clerks check inventories; or caps with sensors that make sure long-distance truckers aren't dozing off.

Google's Project Jacquard recently acknowledged the work-wearables market with a partnership to weave conductive yarn into uniforms made by Cintas. Judging from the companies' talk about health care, hospital scrubs seem a likely first target.

As a business proposition, work-wearables offer advantages over the better-known consumer-oriented products.

Instead of defining new problems, work-wearables solve existing ones.

That makes the sales pitch a lot easier. Take the caps and helmets from SmartCap Technologies, based in Brisbane, Australia.

What looks like a regular trucker's cap or safety helmet can detect when the wearer is getting drowsy, triggering a smartphone alarm or, if the danger of falling asleep is extreme, alerting a supervisor or dispatcher.

 

The smart headgear works by tracking brain waves using sensors that, like an EEG, measure microvolts of electricity on the wearer's forehead. SmartCap's technology was originally developed at the behest of the Australian mining industry.

"These guys are driving trucks the size of houses, and if they have a microsleep at the wheel the result can be catastrophic," says Brady Marcus, the company's US sales director. Along with mining, markets now include trucking, construction, aviation, and oil and gas. Future users could include assembly line workers doing repetitive tasks likely to induce boredom and fatigue.

The price is easier to justify -- or at least to set.

What would a consumer be willing to pay for a SmartCap? Unless you know you're prone to sleepiness at high speed, the answer is probably: not much.

For businesses that use heavy equipment and employ many drivers, by contrast, the stakes are higher and accident records offer a statistical estimate of value.

A company with $1 million in accidents a year, half of them likely related to fatigue, can justify a $500,000 expense, spread across thousands of drivers. (Depending on volume, SmartCap charges about $150 to $200 a cap plus a monthly subscription fee for its app of $30 to $50 per person.)

Work-wearables have more reasons to be wearable.

Technologies need to "earn a place on the body," Fotini Markopoulou, the co-founder of London-based Doppel, told last month's WEAR 2016 conference. For her, wearables are all about physiology. Doppel's wristband mimics a heartbeat, encouraging the wearer's pulse to speed up (for energy) or slow down (for calm).

"If your phone can do what a wearable can, then you shouldn't have a wearable," she declared.

In the workplace, however, simply keeping your hands free or your gaze fixed can be justification enough. Head-mounted cameras let field-service technicians who get stumped send video back to an expert for advice, for instance.

"You could do similar type of solution with a tablet or a smartphone," says Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner. "But you don't have your hands free to actually do the repair."

 

If your phone can do what a wearable can, then you shouldn't have a wearable.

 

The research firm projects that 40 million head-mounted displays will be sold in 2020, about 40 percent for business use. Or consider the tiny voice-activated, clip-on computers Dallas-based Theatro makes for front-line retailing employees.

Theatro devices let store clerks check inventory, talk to each other, even find out their next break time without leaving a customer, using an insecure walkie-talkie, or -- and this is key -- averting their eyes.

Executive vice president Patrick Fitzgerald says that the company originally intended to market a smartphone app but that retailers recoiled. A screen-based app, they maintained, "is actually a productivity drain, not a productivity gain."

Consulting a screen interrupts contact with the customer and, says Fitzgerald, "most customers when they see somebody doing that, they feel like they can go look at their own screen and get their own information." Sale lost.

You can scale up more quickly.

When a retailer decides to adopt Theatro's system, says Fitzgerald, "you get immediate scale. You go from one store or 10 stores to suddenly you're now in 100 stores and you go from 100 stores to, depending on the size of the retailer, 1,000 stores." The company prices its service at four cents to 10 cents per labor hour.

This month it's rolling out the devices to about 3,000 Container Store workers. About 8 million Americans work as retail sales clerks or cashiers, the two most common jobs in the US.

You don't have to worry much about style.

While consumer-wearable makers struggle to understand the fickle world of fashion and to provide variety to suit different tastes, work-wearable designers have an easier problem.

Comfort matters and so, of course, does ease of use. But how the device looks is less important. "The wearables that people are using for their jobs are not the form factor that people would want to wear in their daily life," says Gartner's McIntyre.

For many people, therefore, the workplace will be where they first regularly use wearable technology.

Like the old putty-colored personal computers, the early devices may not be especially attractive. But if they prove their usefulness, they'll "earn their place on the body" and inspire demand for more appealing consumer-oriented gadgets to come.

 

Link: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11669532

번호 제목 글쓴이 날짜 조회 수
공지 2019 IVPL 송년회 [1] yjchoi 2019.12.20 348
공지 [한국과총]글로벌 현장연수 참가자 모집 GreatMind 2018.04.04 371
공지 Inform Your Students: Global Student Challenge. Over US$2,000 in Prizes! GreatMind 2017.01.12 4434
공지 nVidia Parallel Computing Software Engineer 채용 GreatMind 2016.11.16 798
129 Inform Your Students: Global Student Challenge. Over US$2,000 in Prizes! GreatMind 2017.01.12 4434
128 Google's 'Magenta' project will see if AIs can truly make art GreatMind 2016.05.27 3899
127 [News] Congratulation...!!! Ji-Hae Kim's research has been accepted for publication in IEEE Access Journal (IEEE)...!!! GreatMind 2019.03.23 2601
126 2016년 실리콘밸리 인턴십 운영지원사업 참여 학생 모집 공고 file GreatMind 2016.09.22 1939
125 [News] Congratulations..!!!! Young-Ju Choi's research result has been officially accepted for publication in MDPI Electronics .....!!! GreatMind 2019.09.02 1885
124 Building AI systems that work is still hard..! [3] GreatMind 2018.01.04 1573
123 [News] Congratulations! Da-Mi Jeong's paper has been accepted for presentation in ICVIP2018..! GreatMind 2018.09.11 1423
» What to wear to work? Soon, a tiny computer GreatMind 2016.07.07 1350
121 CES 2016 kicks off: Drones, smart homes, connected cars, VR and more !!! 관리자 2016.03.31 1236
120 [News] Congratulation...!!! Dr. Kalyan's paper has been accepted for publication in the IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics...!!! GreatMind 2018.03.02 1201
119 Carnegie Mellon Solves 12-Year-Old DARPA Grand Challenge Mystery..!!! GreatMind 2017.10.26 1123
118 [Notice] Mr. Lee Jong-Hyeok has been nominated in Marquis Who's Who in the World ...!! GreatMind 2017.09.07 1115
117 NVIDIA AI CONFERENCE 2019 GreatMind 2019.06.21 919
116 [Notice] Mr. Park's paper has been accepted with minor revision in Displays Journal (Elsevier)...!! GreatMind 2016.05.11 859
115 Automatic emergency braking systems need 180-degree frontal vision to help cars avoid hitting cyclists..!!! GreatMind 2018.05.10 819
114 [Notice] Dr. Kalyan's paper has been accepted as minor revision in IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics...!!! GreatMind 2017.12.26 813
113 nVidia Parallel Computing Software Engineer 채용 GreatMind 2016.11.16 798
112 카이스트, 모바일용 딥 러닝 AI반도체 개발 GreatMind 2018.03.06 763
111 JPL's AI-Powered Racing Drone Challenges Pro Human Pilot GreatMind 2017.12.20 751
110 Graphene Could Help Generate Power From Rain GreatMind 2016.04.08 743