This Wearable Lets Us See the Future Better than the Apple Watch

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Like Google Glass, the Apple Watch is the beta version of a technology that might one day exist. It suggests a future of effortlessly wearable data devices, more graceful than phones. But one science fiction writer thinks Apple has it all wrong — and that future wearables will be a lot simpler than you think.

Watching the news about Apple Watch, Robin Sloan (author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore) noted that the simple smart rings from Ringly, pictured above, are more likely to be the kind of thing we'd see decorating the arms and fingers of people in the future. The price tag is all wrong, he noted in his tweet, but the design is right.


What Sloan is suggesting is that people won't want one computer in their pocket and another on their wrist. Instead, they'll want something that turns the phone's alerts into something fun and "cryptic." You can program these rings to flash a particular color when your best friend calls, but one can easily imagine a future where you can also set it to vibrate when it geolocates your parents or boss to within 50 meters. It's a public way of signaling something private.


Sometimes we overthink what the future will want. Maybe what we want out of our wearable technology is more like a tap on the shoulder and a secret glance, rather than stock prices scrolling on our wrists.