A future of phones, wearable computers and embedded sensors

(AFP PHOTO / OLE SPATA)

(AFP PHOTO / OLE SPATA)

Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 7:39 AM ET

Leading tech companies believe that Google Glass is simply the beginning and that while the smartphone will continue to remain central to consumers' digital lives, we could all soon be carrying devices inside our bodies.

Speaking at the opening keynote debate at this year's VentureBeat MobileBeat conference on Tuesday, the head of voice recognition company Nuance, Gary Clayton, said that within biomedical engineering, the idea that "wearable" technology devices worn inside the body are only five to 10-years away from becoming reality.

During the discussion, which also featured Young Sohn, Samsung's chief strategy officer and Jef Holove, the CEO of Basis Science, the future of wearable devices was debated and the consensus is that although their popularity is beginning to grow, there is still a long way to go before they really become mainstream and that the data and information that they collect becomes so important that their benefits are impossible to ignore.

Holove explained that the cost of sensors is falling and that at the same time, the data such devices are able to track is becoming more useful and interesting, but that companies have to find innovative ways of converting that data into information that consumers will find both useful and easy to understand.

However, the growth in wearable technology will not consign the smartphone to the history books -- far from it. The panel agreed that the humble phone is becoming less and less a device for making voice calls and is fast becoming an incredibly powerful pocket computer and this level of computing power will be critical to managing other devices, whether worn on or inside the body. "I think that the phone is becoming more central and more important," said Holove.

As for wearable technology, the consensus appears to be that the industry is still waiting for a truly iconic device that will really capture the public's imagination and make the technology desirable. In other words, we're waiting for the iPhone moment. When it comes, Samsung's Young Sohn believes that the next logical step will be for consumers to have nanotechnology embedded in their bodies.


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