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From the Dick Tracy Collection, Wearable Technology

Dick Tracy, a hard-hitting, fast-shooting and intelligent police detective made his debut in October 4, 1931 as the main character in what was to become a legendary comic strip named for the crime fighting hero.  Created by Chester Gould, the strip made its debut in the Detroit Mirror and went on to be distributed by the Chicago Tribune New York News Syndicate.  Generations of fans grew up on the heroic crime fighting stories from the man dressed in baggy, double-breasted suits, bright yellow, a wide brimmed hat and sporty, fully functional, two- way, wrist radio.  Calling headquarters, or summing back-up, through the use of his trusty wireless wrist-mounted phone became a recurring signature move which was punctuated by a raised wrist to mouth posture.  Early on few of us ever envisioned such a device becoming a working toy much less a common everyday tool as it is today.  But that all changed in 1969 with one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind.

Last month, Samsung, became the first entry in the Smartwatch space with its introduction of Galaxy Gear wearable.  Though the early models are still relatively substantial in size, Samsung chief JK Shin announced, “ I believe it will become a new fashion icon around the world.”  The device allows users to make and receive calls, notify people about their SMS updates, and snap photos when connected to a Samsung mobile companion device.  The Gear will become compatible with a swathe of its existing handsets via two updates: the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update, and a separate update due to start rolling out globally soon.  The once fantasy, two-way wrist watch radio of the Dick Tracy error is now officially a reality.

The new mobile, wearable devices have garnered a new moniker, “wearable technology”, a category of high tech accessories that will permit avid technology users the opportunity to make a 21st century fashion-wear statement and is expected to include a full menu of electronic jewelry and fashion accessories.  Nike recently revealed a new version of its FuelBand.  Dubbed the FuelBand SE, the new fitness tracker is available in a variety of color accents and represents the sporting goods maker’s first non-cosmetic update to its activity tracking wearable since the gadget’s introduction.  The FuelBand is a wearable wristband that provides users with a visual readout of their steps taken during the course of a day, and also offers up a ‘Fuel’ tally, which is a metric made up by Nike that calculates based on your activity level through things like walking, running, paying basketball and more.

The new hardware is sealed and waterproofed, making it usable in the shower, and it’s got a highly refined motion detection algorithm. There are regular reminders (once hourly) to prompt you to get up and stop being so lazy, and there’s a new shortcut to let you double tap the button to access time. It uses Bluetooth 4.0, too, which should make it easier to sync data and provide a bit of a battery boost. There’s also a brand new app redesign to do along with it, with more granular and informative charts and graphs related to activity data. A new Fuel-per-minute metric offers a look at your average intensity, rather than just cumulative activity totals.  Is it even remotely possible that the futurist minded hero, Dick Tracy, could have envisioned such an array of advanced technology?

The new smaller more powerful, wearable personal computers not only offer endless opportunities for consumers to collect detailed data and connect more effortlessly to the world through the internet, but also provides’ greater opportunities for internet marketers to connect more personally with consumers and collect enhanced, real-time user data which can be used by businesses to determine consumers day to day patterns and online behaviors.  Technology continues to evolve, getting smaller, faster, cheaper, smarter and more powerful with each generation.

Such hi-tech gadget introductions beg the question, what’s to be next out of the sci-fi past, beam me up Scotty?  Hang on Dr. Spock!

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