DIY Smartwatch: Why do I care?

With Google Glass popularity on the upswing, Sony releasing its second generation of SmartWatch, and the recent releases of the Samsung Galaxy Gear and Qualcomm Toq, it’s a great time for the wearable technology industry.  Since the advent of mobile phones, technology has become less a tool and more an extension of our selves.  While thirty years ago a computer was merely a high functioning calculator designed to accomplish work more easily, computers are now a ubiquitous tool that we carry in our pockets, carrying out tasks ranging from the mundane to critical.  As computers becomes more integral to our daily lives, technology companies will be focusing more and more on ease of use and availability of new technology.  The architectures of the notification systems in Android, iOS, and Windows phones are structured around streamlining the process of updates in one’s personal life by making notifications noticeable and informative, yet subtle and accessed with the minimal amount of effort possible.

Smartwatches and Google Glass are what technology companies are hoping is the next step in making this process even easier for the consumer.  Why should a person need to go through the hassle of taking a phone out of their pocket, turning on the screen, and sifting through notifications when the same notification system can be grafted onto a device that is already always available.  Furthermore, with battery life in cell phones making minimal improvements over the past few years, it is even more important to remove the number one cause of battery drain, powering the screen.  Watches and Google Glass are meant to serve as a platform that consumers can use to keep in touch with their notifications and online presence without needing to separate themselves from their surroundings by taking the time to look down at their phones.  A watch is made for the occasional glance, used to inform oneself of the current time.  A smartwatch can be the same, with updates reflected directly on the screen so the user can quickly see if they need to respond to a notification.

Now personally, I don’t believe smartwatches are all that cool.  Sure, it’s another nifty little gadget, but it doesn’t really add anything.  I don’t really find taking my phone out of my pocket to be that big of a hassle.  However, I do think smartwatches are the first big technology that can be replicated by the Maker community.  In fact one of the first popular smartwatches, the Pebble, was created as a Kickstarter project.  I think it would be pretty fun and education to try and make a serviceable smartwatch so, time allowing, I might add it as another project on my list of things to do with blog posts documenting my process.

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