What to Wear to Work? Soon, a Tiny Computer
The wearable technology startups that get attention make products a Silicon Valley executive or journalist might use — fitness trackers, virtual-reality gaming headsets, jewelry that delivers text-message alerts. It’s lifestyle stuff. But wearable development in the near future depends on more workaday equipment.
Call them work-wearables: computers worn on the body that help get the job done. Think smart glasses displays for manufacturing workers following complex assembly directions; voice-activated clip-on computers that help store clerks check inventories; or caps with sensors that make sure long-distance truckers aren’t dozing off. Google’s Project Jacquard recently acknowledged the work-wearables market with a partnership to weave conductive yarn into uniforms made by Cintas. Judging from the companies’ talk about health care, hospital scrubs seem a likely first target.
As a business proposition, work-wearables offer advantages over the better-known consumer-oriented products.