Ear_Switch

New Ear-Based Wearable Computer Could Be Glass’s New Competition

March 4, 2014 - Written By Patrick Northcraft

Wearable technology seems to be the up and coming trend here in 2014.  Not only have we been seeing an influx of news regarding things like smartwatches, but the famed (or infamous, depending on your opinion) Google Glass will hopefully be released.  In Japan, we are seeing an interesting new idea come to light… a computer that you wear on your ear.  At Hiroshima City University, Kazuhiro Taniguchi has developed what could be considered the alternative to Glass.  The device, pictured above, has the capability to detect when the wearer does things like open their mouths or turn their heads via infrared waves.  Theoretically, this means that their could be apps that are dependent on physical motions such as turning the head or biting down.  The devices, which is called the Ear Switch, has a locally embedded compass, barometer, speaker, microphone, gyro-sensors, battery, ans a GPS.  The device could serve as a personal assistant that is totally unobtrusive and almost unnoticeable, especially if you have longer hair or like to wear headgear that covers the ears.

The device is totally hands free, which is a plus over Glass, which still requires, to this author’s knowledge, a minimal amount of physical interaction.  It is also possible that the device could be used in the medical field to monitor the physical condition of at-risk patients.  As of now, no technical details of the device have been released, since it is essentially in the ‘proof of concept’ phase of development.  This alternative to Glass would be aural-based rather than visually based, which is an interesting change of tides.  The device looks to be not much larger than some of the larger Bluetooth headsets out there, so it will be interesting to see, assuming the public decides to buy it, just how well the device will fair.  The device is intended for a 2015 public launch, which may be a brilliant move.  The device could come in riding on the coattails of things like the smartwatch and Glass, instead of having to break the barrier itself, which is always a hard thing to do.  Check out the video down below for a demonstration released by Taniguchi about the device.  It is in Japanese, but you should be able to get the gist of what he’s going for.  Any thoughts on the matter?  Let us know down below!