Wrist-top computers

Aaron Marcus of AMandA just gave a talk promoting the wrist-top computer as a prime ubiquitous computing platform. I’m skeptical — It feels to me like the wrist is good for quick access to info that’s already showing or just a button-press away, but if you have to drill down (pushing small buttons with your wrist in front of your face) then that quick-access gets washed out by the slow interaction speed. That leaves a pretty narrow set of applications where you just a little bit of information with very little cognitive load.

Reasons to work on wrist:

  1. quick access for quick snippit of visual info
  2. fashionable on wrist (bracelet)
  3. quick access for interaction (a little better than phone clip?)
  4. need wrist access (e.g. pulse monitor)

Reasons not to work on wrist:

  1. small screen
  2. very limited input possible
  3. anything you need to look at for a while (wrist gets tired of being held in that position).
  4. needs hardening (so it won’t break when you bang it on something)

So what applications have the wrist-top as the clear winner interface? Well, there’s telling the time, there’s textual alarms, there’s … um … gimme a second, there’s gotta be more ….

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