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Three big trends converge at CES

Mike Elgan | Jan. 13, 2014
Lifelogging and lifestreaming got a boost from wearable computing and the quantified self at International CES this week. Welcome to the future.

The Sony Core should be able to write this journal entry for you (it doesn't write journal entries, but it records the same information and for the same reason).

The Core probably won't be a great product for the masses right away, but it represents the future of something incredible. It combines lifelogging (capturing everything) with wearable computing (fits into a notifications bracelet) and performs quantified self functions (monitors your biological status).

Now imagine a few years of improvements in sensor technology, miniaturization, increased compute power and more powerful phones and apps and it will be easy to keep a detailed record of everything you do and everything that's happening with your mind and body. And you'll be able to annotate it with voice or text.

That memoir will practically write itself.

Wearing cameras
Rochester Optical Manufacturing was the first company to publicly offer prescription glasses designed to work with Google Glass.

More than a dozen competitors to Google Glass are expected to ship in 2014, and many of these have cameras.

CES featured companies displaying ski goggles, scuba masks and helmets outfitted with cameras, some of them able to stream live to a website over the data connection of a smartphone.

A clear theme emerged at CES that very good cameras are becoming available on just about any object you might put on your face or head.

Other lifelogging and lifestreaming cameras I've told you about in this space before, such as the Autographer and Narrative Clip (formerly called the Memoto), are now shipping.

Over the next couple of years, it will become socially acceptable to wear such cameras and film random experiences in your life. Uploaded to social media or to a private server, they will respectively create a very detailed photographic memory of your life organized chronologically.

I've noticed that with Google Glass, it's hard to not lifelog or lifestream. It's super easy to take photos and video, and when you upload them they appear on your Google+ stream (either publicly or privately). By simply searching for your name and the auto-generated hashtag #throughglass that accompanies all Google Glass images, you see your experiences in reverse-chronological order.

And then there's Wolfram Alpha
Scientist and entrepreneur Stephen Wolfram, of Wolfram-Alpha fame,launched this week an incredibly ambitious project to connect every device that's connected to the Internet — from smart toothbrushes to smart watches to smart refrigerators — and extract their data and apply algorithms to make sense of that data.

Wolfram's Connected Devices Project sounds impossible, but so do other projects Wolfram has taken on and succeeded with.

The bottom line is that if every dumb device in our possession turns smart (becomes connected to the Internet), Wolfram's project and other future initiatives and projects should enable us to harvest all kinds of data about our lives, our health and our experiences.


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