have long been James Bond like fantasy gadgets and not something we
really expected to become a reality, at least not in a design worth
considering for any serious computing. One could argue that
today’s multifunctional wristwatches are computers
– since the definition
is simply that of a programmable
machine that receives input, stores and manipulates data, and provides
output in a useful
Are These Computers or
High Tech Watches?
Even so, most people think of computers as being
substantially larger than something you could wear on your arm. And
while computer size is now a fraction of the giant room filling
machines from decades ago, even the smallest devices we label as
computers in 2012 still weigh two pounds and are attached to ten inch
screens. We call them netbooks or Apple iPads.
PDA (personal digital assistant) is an even smaller computer, often
weighing only a few ounces. And while we don’t call usually
refer to them as PDA’s anymore, today’s smartphones
such as the RIM BlackBerry or Apple iPhone are the next generation of
mobile computing power. Some of these hand held computers have more
speed, memory and power than desktop and laptop computers from just a
few years ago, but most people don’t use them the same way
they use their “other” computer.
Doing a search for “wrist watch computer” on Google
today, I found several diving watches labeled as computers. One was the
Oceanic Geo Wrist Watch Computer. Call it whatever you want, this is a
watch for people who dive – not a computer. One of the
closest things I found to a wrist watch computer you can buy right now
was the Fossil Abacus Wrist PDA. It runs on the Palm OS, has a 66 mhz
CPU, 8 mb RAM, a 160 x 160 pixel display screen, a USB interface and
some built in functions.
I am guessing there are other more advanced computers you can wear on
your wrist/arm – but I’m still waiting to find one
that can perform many of the functions of my notebook. Many
technologies follows Moore’s Law, doubling in processing
speed and memory capacity every 2 years, while also shrinking in size.
At some point though, too small and powerful is a real possibility. It
is no longer a stretch to imagine a computer that you could attach to
your wrist like a watch. What needs to change to bring it to market is
how we would interact with such a device. Beam me up, Scotty would be a
gifts in 2014
or will it be another 5 years? Will we someday see them used to control
our electric cars and hybrid
Time will tell!