As wearable tech goes, Google Glass is old hat. What you expect from Off-Ramp is the Next Big Thing — perhaps a hat that protects you from paparazzi and boom boxes, or a nail appliqué that doubles as a flashlight — so I spent Thursday morning at Art Center College of Design, where teams of of Media Design MFA students unveiled their wearable prototypes.
Professor Philip van Allen gave the assignment:
"The point is to explore what the potential of wearables is. Not for tomorrow but say 5-10 years from now. Where can we go, where can we develop the technology, design, and interaction to make things that are truly interesting for people?"
One of the most fully developed prototypes was Sangli Li's quite fashionable hat, which uses sensors to protect the wearer from light and sound.
Other projects include:
- A "Data Vaporizer," which emits a gas that erases the data on a would-be hacker's mobile devices.
- A puffy suit that mirrors the wearer's pensiveness or pomposity.
- Tiny fingernail add-ons that take the current nail sculpture concept one step further by allowing micro electronics to be attached to the surface of the nail.
Professor van Allen says, "the kinds of projects that our students are working on are probably a few years out, but we're about to go to Intel to share with their people the projects that were done here," so you might see some of these concepts put into play. So watch this space."