Move over, Google Glass. Japanese company NS West is testing a prototype of what it calls an “Earclip-type Wearable PC,” and it seems pretty killer.
It weighs a little more than half an ounce and resembles a hearing aide. It has a GPS, compass, gyro sensor, barometer, speaker and microphone. Interestingly, it's actually designed with Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, in mind.
But it’s more than just an earpiece to go along with your smartphone. According to AFP, the Earclip-type Wearable PC works using infrared sensors to monitor the movements you make in your ear when you make certain facial expressions, like raise your eyebrow or wiggle your nose.
The developers say the device is utilitarian. People would be able to operate NS West’s ear computer hands-free, something that could appeal to hospital staff and motorcycle riders alike. NS West’s ear PC could also be used as a hearing aide and to monitor pulse and body temperature, and the accelerometer could tell if a user has fallen -- all of which could help the elderly and disabled.
Kazuhiro Tanaguchi of Hiroshima City University told reporters that the developers made the device “with the basic idea that people will wear it in the same way they wear earrings.”
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“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,” Tanaguchi 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.’”
The developers hope to have the product finished by Christmas 2015, and they intend to have a commercially available by April 2016.
Meanwhile, Google wants to release Google Glass to the public by late 2014. One thing people may love about NS West’s ear computer is its design, which has a lower profile than Google Glass' design. A woman was reportedly attacked Saturday because she wore her Google Glass device in a San Francisco bar.