Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The ArmPhone

The Apple "SmartWatch" -- behold:

Sorry to be disrespectful to the memory of Steve Jobs, but when this device came out I was profoundly underwhelmed. Why would anyone want something like that? First of all, these things are both clunky and ugly as heck. And after interacting with one for any significant length of time, the eye strain would be sending you to your nearest ophthalmologist. I find it enough of a challenge to set the alarm on my digital watch, thank you. Navigating text messages, making phone calls, reading online texts, etc. on such a tiny device would drive me nuts.

BUT: the idea of a handy "smart" device such as this, that one could carry on one's body rather than a pocket or purse, struck me as very intriguing -- and set some wheels turning in my fevered brain. It didn't take very long for my Eureka moment: why not extend the base from the wrist to the forearm, which could support a small smart phone rather than a tiny wristwatch?  My first thought looked something like this:

But no, that wouldn't do -- too clunky.

In the back of my mind I vaguely recalled reading somewhere about certain advances with flexible materials that could support electronic components. Such as, for example:

So why not a thin, flexible band that would wrap around your forearm? As light and handy as a watch, but large enough to support a full touch interface. I'd call it the "ArmPhone."

Naturally, I shared my idea with any friend who would listen, and, as expected, got the usual shrugs. "Why would anyone want something like that sitting on their arm all day?" was a typical response. "Well," I retorted, "why would anyone want a bulky phone taking up most of the room in their pocket all day?" My sister had recently given me a nifty "Smart" phone, precipitating a minor crisis, because -- well, when you think about it these devices are really for women, who can easily stash them in a handbag. Guys have to stuff them in a pocket, where they take up most of the room and produce an unsightly bulge. But I didn't want to offend my sister, so I kept it in my pocket anyhow. Uncomfortable, yes -- but also rather nifty, so I couldn't really complain. But as for me I'd much prefer the device I (thought I) had invented and saw no reason why it wouldn't be a hit if and when one came on the market.

As with most of my "great ideas" I had no plans to market it, or even patent it, myself -- but I felt sure something of this sort would be in the works soon. And, as it turns out, I was not alone. A beautiful design for  essentially the same sort of device was conceived by someone named Sean McGee back in 2013. For some reason my blog software won't let me display the image here, but you can find it on Sean McGee's Blog, fourth image down.

And a year later, something even cooler came on the market, taking the concept to a whole new level:

According to this article in Entrepreneur, the astonishing "Cicret" was still in prototype form back in 2014, and to my knowledge neither the version envisioned by Sean McGee nor the Cicret Bracelet has yet appeared on the market. One can never be sure how things will work out in the wacky world of business, but if and when such devices do appear on the market I predict they will be "the next big thing" that everyone will want. Mark my words -- and wait.

No comments:

Post a Comment