Wearable Computing: The Next Step Toward our "Personal Health Server?"

While many of us already believe we “wear” gadgets like our smartphones WIMM believes the next form factor is to go a step further in the wearability category (from our pocket to our wrist). The next step: implantable devices with apps? Thanks to Christopher Trout and Engadget for this great article. 

Tablets and smartphones might rule the present, but if you ask the folks at WIMM Labs, the future of data consumption is a one-inch by one-inch square. The Los Altos startup just revealed its new, wearable computing platform, developed, in part, through a partnership with Foxconn, that it hopes will change the way we look at computers. Currently known as the WIMM wearable platform, this new modular device packs a full-color 160 x 160 touchscreen, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, an accelerometer and magnetometer, and runs on good old Android. What's more, it's waterproof. Basically, it's a tiny, multifunctional computer, packed with “micro apps” that can make it anything from a smart watch to a health monitor, from a mobile payment device to an all-in-one remote. As of now, the company doesn't have plans to market it direct to consumers, but says it has a few partnerships in the works that could bring a WIMM-powered something to market by year's end; a developer kit will go on sale in the next few weeks for an undisclosed price. If you're itching to ditch that tired old diamond-encrusted nano watch, check out the galleries below and hop on past the break for our first impressions, video, and full PR.

On first sight, the WIMM wearable platform looks like the love child of an iPod nano and Sifteo's Cubits. We got a chance to slide our greasy fingers across two different flavors: one made with a shiny ceramic shell that resembled onyx and the other outfitted in white plastic. As of now, the company only has a handful of developers working on dedicated apps for the platform that will be sold in partner-branded app stores, hosted by WIMM Labs. Users will be able to download apps from a separate device, and sync them to their module via WiFi. We flipped through a series of watch faces, a weather app, and a calendar, but its creators see it as potential competition for everything from the Nike+ SportWatch to the universal remote. Also on hand, were a USB charger, a couple of different wristbands that house the mini computer like a nano watch, and a travel dock that apparently provides up to five days of juice. Of course, there are limitations to what you can do on a one-inch screen, and WIMM seems to realize those limitations; it's pushing RSS preview apps, instead of fully featured readers, and while there is a text input feature, they haven't outfitted the thing to send text messages or e-mails.

Since WIMM Labs has chosen to license its technology, the platforms future is anyone's guess — we were told the little guys could sell for anywhere from $200 to $2000 — but we're hoping some brave boffin will trick one of these puppies out and finally make us a real-deal go-go-gadget watch.

David G. Armstrong

Dedicated to amputation prevention, wound healing, diabetic foot, biotechnology and the intersection between medical devices and consumer electronics.

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