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Hardware

Are We Socially Ready For Wearable Computing? 214

An anonymous reader writes "Smart watches have arrived, and Google Glass is on its way. As early-adopters start to gain some experience with these devices, they're learning some interesting lessons about how wearable computing affects our behavior differently from even smartphones and tablets. Vint Cerf says, 'Our social conventions have not kept up with the technology.' Right now, it's considered impolite to talk on your cellphone while checking out at the grocery store, or to ignore a face-to-face conversation in favor of texting somebody. But 20 years ago, those actions weren't even on our social radar. Wearable devices create some obvious social problems, like the aversion to Glass's ever-present camera. But there are subtler ones, as well, for which we'll need to develop another set of social norms. A Pebble smart watch user gave an example: 'People thought I was being rude and checking the time constantly when I was really monitoring incoming messages. It sent the wrong signal.' The article continues, 'Therein lies the wearables conundrum. You can put a phone away and choose not to use it. You can turn to it with permission if you're so inclined. Wearables provide no opportunity for pause, as their interruptions tend to be fairly continuous, and the interaction is more physical (an averted glance or a vibration directly on your arm). It's nearly impossible to train yourself to avoid the reflex-like response of interacting. By comparison, a cell phone is away (in your pocket, on a table) and has to be reached for.'"

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