A lot of technology companies are pinning their hopes in “wearable technology” – that is, gadgets and computers that people can wear – as the next big thing in the industry, with search engine and open-source giant Google at the forefront with its Google Glass. An engineer in Japan is also going down the same path, developing a computer that you can wear as an ear accessory and would allow you to connect to a smartphone or handheld gadget to access software and other features.
The device being tested is at the moment called the “Earclip-type Wearable PC,” which is equipped with a microchip for computing and data storage, as described by its designer and developer, engineer Kazuhiro Taniguchi of Hiroshima City University. The wireless device weighs around 17 grams, has bluetooth capability, a GPS, compass, gyrosensor, battery, barometer, speaker and a microphone. The earclip-wearable system is designed so that it can connect to a handheld device, like an iPhone or an Android gadget, which would basically allow the user to navigate through software programs using facial expressions. What kind of expressions, you ask? Well, a raised eyebrow, a stuck-out tongue, a wiggle of the nose or clenching of your teeth – all of these facial actions can be used by the system to do specific commands. The device uses infrared sensors to monitor movements in the ear – movements that change depending on how the eyes and mouth move.
“We have made this with the basic idea that people will wear it in the same way they wear earrings,” Taniguchi told reporters in a recent interview where he showed the media a prototype. “Supposing I climb a mountain, look at the sky at night and see a bright star up there, it could tell me what it is,” Taniguchi said. “As it knows what altitude I’m at, which direction I’m looking and at what angle, it could tell me, ‘The bright star you are seeing now is Sirius’.” Using a smartphone to connect to the Internet, the device could allow you be in touch with people in faraway places who are doing the same thing as yourself. Developers are looking at December 2015 as their goal for the mass release of the gadget.