Alt Text: Google Hats and the Imaginary Future of Wearable Computing


Last week Google confirmed that its upcoming “Google Glass” — which everyone is going to call Google Glasses so get over it, Google — will be interoperable with the iPhone to some extent, causing widespread relief among people who really have no grounds to complain about any aspect of their privileged lives. At the same time, an Apple patent for a sort of Wi-Fi-enabled watch surfaced, causing many people to speculate about the future of what everyone is going to call an iWatch, so get with it, Apple.

I’m thrilled to be able to vaguely anticipate the most significant advances in wearable computing since Ada Lovelace wore a 4,000-pound difference engine to Queen Victoria’s coronation. However, I can’t help but be disappointed at the accessories chosen to bear the burden of our future.

For instance — glasses? Most of the people who might want computerized glasses already wear glasses, and wearing glasses on top of glasses is a triumph of dorkitude that makes Bluetooth earpieces look like Navy SEAL tattoos. The only reason it’s even tolerable at 3-D movies is because it’s dark. Any attempt to bring that fashion monstrosity into the light will send civilization back to, I dunno, 2003.

The watch is perhaps a better idea. It has a nice symmetry. Mobile devices have made watches redundant, so now our wrists are free to hold more mobile devices. But why not rescue some accessories that are virtually unknown outside of historical dramas and Portland, Oregon? Here’s what I’m thinking:

1. Hats

If there’s one thing Harry Potter taught us, it’s that an intelligent hat can have a profound influence on our life. It also taught us that elves are weird about socks, but that can wait for the next technological revolution. The point is that while a watch can tell us what we need to know, a hat could display what other people need to know about us, warning our loved ones and tolerated ones that we have low blood sugar and that one movie we’ve been wanting to watch just got removed from Netflix, so BACK OFF.

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