It seems like the world is on the edge of a wearable technology revolution. The Internet of Things is bringing the power of sensors, communication, and interoperability to just about everything, and it's happening fast. From clothes, to sports, to our very own bodies, tiny, wearable computers are becoming part of the world.
The cyborg-like Google Glass project will connect us with a vast library of information, allowing us to navigate maps, chat with friends thousands of miles away, and look up virtually anything from an enhanced heads-up display. Apple has visions of flexible-wrist displays and technology-enhanced sports, and Microsoft is using electrical signals from muscles to control video games.
It's all part of a new world that's building function into fashion. Take a look at some of the recently filed patents that you could soon be wearing.
Patent application No. 20130016070 from Google, published January 13, describes "Methods and Systems for a Virtual Input Device." A pattern for input, such as a keyboard or numeric keypad, can be projected onto a user's "display hand," and a forwards-facing camera can then detect when the user selects items off the projected keyboard.
Wearable technology is making us the computer as well as the canvas.
In a patent first filed in August 2011, but just published, we see what is rumored to be Apple's iWatch, a wearable computer. The application, titled "Bi-stable spring with flexible display," shows a flexible display that is worn on the wrist and might connect to devices through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Graphics from the Apple patent for "Activity Monitoring Systems and Methods" dated March 31, 2009, shows sensor integration that goes directly into bikes, measuring speed, distance, and other factors for serious enthusiasts, just as a mounted computer accessory add-on might measure these statistics today.