Why Wearable Tech Needs To Focus On The Ear, Not The Wrist

Why Wearable Tech Needs To Focus On The Ear, Not The Wrist

Are Google, Apple and others getting the wearable trend all wrong?

Lara Piras
  • 14 april 2014

“Hearables” are the the new wearables apparently.

According to wireless tech expert Nick Hunn, the tech industry needs to stop obsessing over the wrist and start focusing on the ear. Hunn is currently working on a thorough market forecast report on the wearable tech craze, analyzing its potential and where it’s headed. In his preview, which can be read in full here, he expects “hearables,” also known as smart earbuds, to be worth over $5 billion by 2018.

The technology is already in development, for exampled with the Moto X technology that monitors the wearer’s moves and spoken words. It’s been proven that the ear is actually a better fitness tracker than the wrist as it doesn’t bounce around, ensuring the readings are more accurate.

Smartwatches and fitness bands may triumph in 2014, but the earbuds are close behind. We recently documented two new products featuring this technology: The Dash, a pair of Bluetooth-operated ear buds that work with a connected smartphone or on their own 4GB music player and an adapted Google Glass device by Japanese researcher Kazuhiro Taniguchi. Named The Ear Switch, the device is powered by Bluetooth and picks up commands by monitoring tiny movements in the ear and subtle facial movements, such as blinks or tongue clicks.

Hunn explains his theory, “The ear is the new wrist. Sound drives the bulk of our technology use and earbuds are the only piece of wearable tech to have gained ubiquity and social acceptance. These devices are about to undergo a revolution in capability, getting rid of their cables and giving them the opportunity to be the standard bearer for wearable technology.”

There are no screens or buttons getting in the way which makes the user ask the device to do something, not unlike the interface in the recently movie Her. Such designs will make for a much less intrusive tech experience.

Email to download the report for free.

Sources: Nick Hunn, Quartz


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