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The Military Hardware

Wearable Computers and Portable Power 25

An anonymous reader writes "Last weekend, Silicon Valley VC Marc Andreessen called out 'wearable computing' as a Next Big Thing. Now MC10, a three-year-old company making flexible electronics, is taking an old idea to new places. The startup is developing health sensors that conform to the human body, image sensors that curve like the retina, and stretchy solar cells (and other circuitry) that can be woven into the fabric of a tent or aircraft skin. Unlike organic or printed electronics, which tend to be inefficient, MC10 uses silicon islands linked by springy interconnects. It's still early, but the company has new backing from VCs, Reebok, and the U.S. government to develop wearable devices, mini-sensors, and portable power. Imagine a self-charging UAV with tiny cameras on board, and you can tell what the military wants out of this."
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Wearable Computers and Portable Power

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  • by Normal Dan ( 1053064 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @03:04PM (#36738536)
    I am now in the future.
  • by c0d3g33k ( 102699 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @03:18PM (#36738772)

    Apart from his involvement with Mosaic and Netscape, all his projects and proclamations about the web share several common traits: breathless articles on the part of the technical and popular press detailing the web pioneer/VC entrepeneur's AWESOME vision of the future, and rapid passage into obscurity as the proclaimed AWESOME future did not come to pass.

    At this point, the word Andreesen does no more for me than trigger an involuntary yawn.

    • LOL.

      Replying to myself, the fact that this story has only garnered 20 responses in several hours, whilst other stories posted later are in the 100's already, shows the level of apathy slashdotters feel for Mr. Andreessen and his proclamations. I should have know the proper response was no response at all. I guess I still have a little evolving to do. :-)

  • According to the show on one of the Testosterone Channels, the Green Berets use a kind of "medical tee shirt" on their candidates that transmits vitals and location data. IIRC, there was a panel on the shirt that housed everything. This new item seems to be more in the area of comfort than function.
  • Sensors embedded in clothing? *shrug* Let me know when they've got contact lenses with embedded displays [tgdaily.com].
  • Although I am sure that "wearable" makes more sense to Joe Sixpack what this really seems to be about to me is that once you shrink computing so much that getting smaller is really not useful the next thing to do is make it more durable/flexible, i.e. "wearable"

    From that point of view he is probably spot on. I do wish we could have a discussion about such technical merits rather than whether or not people like this particular guy or not etc.
  • why am I going to strap a bunch of shit on me just to have what most celphones come with already

  • Try going through airport security with a laptop duct-taped to your chest. Interesting times ahead.
  • Wearables have never really caught on. Control panels flexible enough to be part of clothing have been around for a while, and I had access to a smart jacket 15 years ago.

    Thing is, they don't seem to appeal to the mass market. I think part of it is the "what will it do for me" question that non-geeks ask. Without a killer app, people aren't going to go for wearables.
  • Imagine a self-charging UAV with tiny cameras on board, and you can tell what the military wants out of this

    I'm going to guess "a self-charging UAV with tiny cameras on board" is what you are angling for here... But the sentence itself is a travesty. Worse than using a passive form to remove blame, this appears to be using the second person to try and make me feel involved in reaching the conclusion the writer has already decided I should reach, and hence turn idle speculation into some kind of supported conclusion in my head.

    Thank you, but I can do my own mind-reading without needing to be prompted.

  • The only "wearable computer" I want is a HUD in my spectacles. Wearable computing is not a new idea... Shit, the Dick Tracy watch was imagined before wearable computing was even a catch phrase. Let's call it something different, though... Wearable computers makes me think of the Tron Guy. The best one I have heard so far is "Mobile Computing."

    For some real next level shit, check out Ubiquitous Computing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubiquitous_computing [wikipedia.org] . That's _really_ the future. ;-)


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