Wearable computing, new research field, has witnessed tremendous improvements in the last decade. Wearable computing implies an intersection of a variety of research areas including computer science and engineering using several technologies viz. microelectronics and wireless communication. Advancements in microelectronics have led to the development of small-sized dies, requiring low power consumption, well suited for the wearable computing devices. Whereas the wireless telecommunication technologies enable convenience in designing the wearable computing devices such as ZigBee, WiMAX, 3G-LTE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
Exponential Growth Estimated for Global Wearable Computing Devices Market in the Near Future
Future Market Insights (FMI), in its report, projects the global wearable computing devices market to register an exponential 36.8% CAGR throughout the forecast 2014-2020. Wearable smart devices are user-friendly and autonomous in nature. They are can be connected wirelessly to the internet through a third-party tool. IP data bearers viz. Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, cellular packed data are utilized for connecting with the internet and many other connected devices.
Expected drop in average selling prices of wearable devices and rising awareness on these devices within users are factors foreseen to accelerate the growth of global wearable computing devices market. In addition, increasing concerns about health across the globe and availability of open-source applications are estimated to fuel the demand for smart accessories as well as smart fitness in the near future. Asia Pacific (APAC) is expected to exhibit the fastest growth in the overall market. Major players are focusing on the introduction of advanced wearable devices and accessories to gain traction among new customers and to expand their client base.
A Wearable Ethics Code for Wearable Devices
Google Glass has shown that wearable computing creates massive criticism, and may even cause legal actions for privacy & safety concerns. The wearable prototype’s experience and development drawback must however not lead to the conclusion that managing and addressing concerns will be impossible, even in the utilization of cameras, while operating in a suitable manner. Considering individual as well as public concerns pertaining to wearable computing devices is necessary, leading towards understanding the viable concepts- the wearable ethics code.
Although users may feel less awkward in wearing smart eyeglasses that look like normal ones, it will not help to remove concerns of the public. It may even raise concerns instead, to higher technology disapproval, with rising fear regarding hidden recordings. It, therefore, feels logical to expose certain functionalities and to demonstrate it to the environment, rather than hiding it. Development of wearable ethics code necessitates further investigations, clearing design choices. A camera is not a sole concern for people to discern it as privacy-intrusive. Similar considerations are applied to the audio recordings as well as to other behaviour monitoring and identifying sensors.
Challenges faced by Wearable Computing Research Include
- Multi-functional skin-attachables & wearable accessories are used in several situations. Wearers are enabled to reconfigure their device, based on their current requirements, or else the device detects and reconfigures itself. Here, software apps may offer a suitable starting point. Nevertheless, energy harvesting, context recognition, and low-power operation necessitate further investigation to address the challenge.
- Many special-purpose devices seem beneficial, but are commercially viable, provided the individual production & development effort is small. To end this, identification & implementation of the generic material baselines or platform is necessary. Searching production processes as well as sensor functions is critical, capable of providing cost-effective wearable devices.
- Potential contradictory goals exist in the wearer and public acceptance. Even though wearers seek invisible monitoring, the environment would prevent any information recording about them. Wearable ethics code would assist increasing public acceptance for wearable monitoring devices.
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