The development of applications has changed a lot and over the year there have been many ways in which they have improved. With the rise of the internet of things, a new trend for app development is integrating them with IoT devices as well as wearable devices. These technologies are smart electronic devices able to be incorporated into fashion and everyday accessories.
The beauty of wearables and applications is that they can be interconnected and make great use of each other. For example, a smartwatch monitoring the sleep patterns of a person and can work together with an alarm application on a mobile device that can wake the person when not in deep sleep. These watches can also provide quality of life and convenience such as being able to see your phone notifications directly on your watch.
Innovating for the Sake of Innovation
While smartwatches are very popular, the wearable landscape goes beyond them, where we can see more complex cases of wearable technology. An example would be the integration of augmented reality technology with wearables such as smart glasses. The controversies regarding Google Glass may have had an impact on such a device becoming a trend due to the lack of mainstream affordability and privacy concerns.
The product itself was visionary, especially for its time, however, it seems that there was no consideration of real-world implications of such a fashion accessory. For example, surrounding people may feel uncomfortable having around a person wearing a Google glass or something similar.
Another issue that made people question such a product was the lack of benefits that it provided its users. It could be used to take pictures as well as allowing users to surf the web, something that could also be done with a smartphone with which Google Glass could not compete with in terms of processing power.
The benefits that Google Glass left behind was to make companies more aware of what people need. Designing accessories for the sake of designing without providing much benefit will make people question the product.
The smart glasses had no new feature that could not be done by using a regular smartphone, which by themselves are more powerful and can do a lot more than the glasses. It has also paved the way for other companies to come up with their design and improve upon them.
User Interface and Control Input
The means of interacting with the glasses is probably the most difficult challenge to overcome. How does a user interact with such a device? Users can interact with smart glasses by touching, tapping or swiping, however, these controls are built into the frame itself. Traditional input does not support the concept of smart glasses and so designers use what is called a Human-Computer Interface control input which includes but not limited the following:
- Buttons (built into the frame)
- Speech recognition
- Gesture recognition
A device that makes use of speech recognition and can be operated using simple voice commands is the the NuEyes Pro, a pair of smart glasses that helps improve the eyesight for people with poor or no vision and can change colors, increase or decrease brightness and contrast, and much more.
Can Smart Glasses be Used for Gaming?
Playing video games using smart glasses still has a long way to go. While they can provide the user with a lot of feedback and offer new ways of interacting with the environment, the device is very limited when it comes to games. There are smart glass products out there that are made for gamers but are very limited in what they offer.
An example of this would be the device from Mutrics. The device makes use of open ear technology to be able to transfer stereo audio to the inner ear without using earbuds, as well as having a layer of anti-blue light lenses to protect the eyes against harmful UV light emitted by the screen.
Their function is very limited and it may be some time before users can play advanced games using their smart glasses. AR games can greatly benefit from such a device, instead of using the phone for displaying game objectives in the real world via a camera or GPS, they can be displayed directly through a pair of lenses, making the experience more comfortable. Regular gaming companies as well as casino games companies already make some use of wearable devices to enhance their games.
Many land-based casinos have adopted the internet as a new way to make their games available for more people and at the same time implementing new technologies such as VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality), technology that also fits in the wearable category.
While not all online casino games make use of these devices, many of them use VR to provide a more realistic experience for their users where it makes sense. For example,certain situations such as interacting with live croupiers while playing table games can make great use of virtual reality, making the experience more realistic.
Using a VR headset while playing slots can also improve the experience by placing the player into a world designed with a general theme in mind. For example, designing an environment and landscape that simulates the look and feel of the slot game being played and each game having its own different environment. A movie themed slot game can have a scene from the movie that it is based on, recreated in a virtual environment in which the slot itself is located.
Playing on a smartphone provides the player with a limited interaction, however, by placing the player inside the game environment itself using VR, it can create more interesting ways in which the player can interact with the game world.
Many IoT devices have been and continue to be developed alongside new wearable technology. Most of these devices are made to serve a few or a single function that can help to improve the everyday life of their users and also provide new ways of interacting with the world. Smartphones are still the most convenient and powerful devices to have on hand and while wearable accessories cannot replace them, they can be used alongside the smartphone to provide more convenience and quality of life.