iWatch – Never carry a mobile phone again!

Updated Oct 14, 2008: This week’s Carnival of the Mobilists hosted by mjelly has featured this post. Thanks a lot James.

The last concept hack i did called the iPod SD became a popular post. Too bad, Apple never built the product πŸ™

Yesterday,Β i came across this interview of Steve Wozniak (via Techmeme) where he mentions an iWatch.Β  I decided to daydream about the iWatch.

At a minimum the new concept should cure a disease of mine that has me embarrassed down to the bones – one that possibly afflicts most people that have reached a ripe old age like me πŸ˜› I am walking around, someone comes around and says “Hi Sukumar, how are you doing” with such affection and familiarity, that it has me cringing – oh god! – i don’t remember the person’s name.

Wouldn’t it be cool, if i could have a camera, built-in to my spectacles, that would recognize the person and whisper the name of the person in my ears.

I knew that oakley had built mp3 sunglasses which gave me the hope to pursue this idea. I proceeded to look for sunglasses that had a camera built-in.

W00t! There is a whole range of spy cameras that are available that have cameras builtin to sunglasses and other sundry items. The only issue is that they all looked like the ones robocop would wear – not meant for humans πŸ™‚

After some searching, i found one made by Brando that i thought i could wear with some alterations. I had to add a earbud headphone similar to the oakley so that i could hear what the sunglasses would eventually tell me. Then I wanted to strip out all the memory and other electronics needed from the sunglasses and leave only the bare essentials needed for the camera to work. That way i figured i could convert the Brando into a sleeker one that normal humans would consider wearing πŸ™‚

That meant that i have to store all the electronics somewhere else and use bluetooth to communicate with the sunglasses. Additionally i realized i needed some kind of platform to run my face recognition program that would analyze the picture and whisper into my ears. Similar to my decision on using my spectacles to host the camera, i wanted to use something else that i always have with me to host the back-end electronics for the camera – the wristwatch.

After some Googling, i found this Hyundai wristwatch cell phone – it is a full fledged GSM cellphone+mp3 player+camera+bluetooth stuffed into a watch form factor. Conceptually i could take the camera lens and the mp3 speaker out and have it talk to the modified Brando sunglasses i described above.

The problem with these watchphones is that there are too many buttons making the user interface too clunky and complicated. I wanted something like the iPhone – a multi-touch based watch phone which had a superior user interface.

Dame luck smiled on me again. Yankodesign has published a concept phone called Cobalt that fit the bill perfectly – oozing OLED goodness. Yanko Design had it made like an old time pocket watch. I had to crop the picture to get the design that i wanted.

Drumroll please, here is our concept hack – the iWatch.

Apple Zero

The spectacle piece is on the left and the watch piece is on the right. The watch is showing the time, temperature, a recent text/sms, the date/time, voicemail and email notifications.

If you are wondering where the camera is, i decided to give you another view of the iWatch.

The spectacle piece has the camera highlighted and the watch piece is showing the mp3 player.

With this on, i hope to recognize you when you come say hello πŸ™‚ Not just that, the iWatch can replace the mobile phone, digicam and mp3 player that i need to carry around.

Hope you liked the concept hack. How would you enhance this concept hack further?


  1. Quote

    wow.. cool concept!
    we could have bluetooth to transfer data from camera/spec to watch and a usb for the watch piece to connect with pc/laptop.
    then we could have in built speakers at the spectacle bar near the ear position. what about the mem stick. maybe you could introduce the ipod SD concept here too??? and a torch light could be handy just like India ‘s 1100 nokia mobile! πŸ˜€

  2. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said October 8, 2008, 3:31 am:

    Thanks Archana. Yeah the data transfer between camera and spec would be bluetooth. For the watch piece, i want to do over the air synchronization since it has a cell phone builtin. I guess a mini-USB could be accomodated on the watch in case there is no wireless coverage.

    Speakers sounds good. The Brando has a mem stick slot, but i think it is those things that make the spec bulky. Perhaps the watch can sport a microSD card slot.

    torchlight is a good idea as well.

  3. Quote

    Great Sukumar, my prayers to Almighty that someone should sponser for
    this and implement it soon say by this year end.

  4. Quote

    Thanks Appa. Let us hope someone makes this device. I will run out and buy one.

  5. Quote

    Wow..Thats an awesome figment of imagination Sukumar. Hats off to you!

  6. Quote

    Sukumar, i loved the iWatch and i will definitely buy one for my Husband. He always gets confused with spouse names of his friends which later translates into major problem in their home :-). So, far he manages with Mrs. So and so…

    Have you been watching Spy kids or other Teen\Tween Tv shows. Most of the tween shows( i watch with my son) has kids who own devices like this sunglass camera, hat camera to spy on siblings\friends etc. IWatch will definitely be huge hit among Teens too if we can include a software which tracks the person’s age,college etc. so they can immediately connect with them.

    We are buying two.

  7. Quote

    Good imagination and well a very good application. For me the iphone 3g is the latest and greatest gadget I could play with. But I wish it has ability to add tags for each contact (and geotag if possible) so that I can remember where I met that guy earlier and bring that into our conversation.

  8. Quote

    Super concept Sukumar! We can leverage Picasa’s face-recognition technology to recognize the faces that show up on the camera. If someone invests in this, I think this is a very do-able product. But I would be very surprised if some Japanese guy has not already thought of it and is selling it in the jap market already…I have read about mobile phones that unlock after recognizing the face of the owner.

  9. Quote

    cool…sounds 007 to me…Is this from Microsoft satisfy your requirement? http://news.zdnet.com/2422-13568_22-182336.html. I wrote about it in http://ibloggergeek.blogspot.com/2008/01/2008-international-ces-round-2.html.

    I want to add language translation also with it.


  10. Quote

    Thanks Ashutosh.

  11. Quote

    Thanks. I fully empathize with Anbu’s name-mangling.

    I haven’t watched spy kids. If it is so popular, you are right, a kid’s version of this iWatch could be a potential hit.

  12. Quote

    Thanks Vamsi. iPhone is definitely the must-have device of the moment. If only they didn’t have rip-off pricing in India, i would have bought one.

  13. Quote

    Thanks Deepak. I didn’t know Picasa had face recognition. I had heard of Riya but i think they are not doing well. Will checkout Picasa.

    As for the Japanese. Yeah, i guess someone in Japan already owns the iWatch.

  14. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said October 9, 2008, 9:31 am:

    Thanks Subba. The Microsoft Mobile Navigator technology sounds very interesting. Thanks for the pointer. Looks like it could accomplish the face recognition part and more. As Deepak has pointed out, Picasa has face recognition technology. So the technology is there. My main concept is that everything is bundled into your watch and spectacles which one wears on a regular basis. Those that don’t wear glasses can wear sunglasses. As you said, i am looking for something 007 like.

  15. Quote

    I can understand sir…it’s the Chennai weather πŸ™‚ A better brand of air conditioner is all I would suggest. And things would be just fine ! πŸ™‚

  16. Quote

    But yes, with Integration of technologies everywhere, I cannot see any reason why we should carry ard a watch & a cellphone. The cellphone does indeed do the job of the watch, but as we can see , it doesn’t seem to be working. Ppl still carry ard both devices.So the answer might just be to carry around a watch, with the cellphone merged into it.
    Then again, you are adding another gadget to the list, a sunglass. One can’t obviously go ard wearing a sunglass indoors, so I humbly disagree. And again, there are a good number of ppl who don’t wear sunglasses even outdoors. Watch alone is universal & perfect, can the camera come into the watch ?

  17. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said October 11, 2008, 7:06 am:

    Is there a particular brand of airconditioner you recommend πŸ™‚

    If you just need a watch that has a cellphone builtin, you can get the Hyundai watch i linked to in the post. It has a builtin camera as well.

    As for the sunglasses, i was hoping that one could fillin the missing pieces with some additional imagination. I wear spectacles, so i was looking for a camera imbedded into the glasses. All i found was sunglasses with cameras builtin. I guess someone is buying those. Now that sunglasses have builtin cameras, it is not difficult to imagine that spectacles could have cameras builtin. And for those that don’t want to wear any type of glasses, one can always use a bluetooth headset but then it wouldn’t have a camera.

    Hope that helps.

  18. Quote
    pk.karthik said October 11, 2008, 9:51 am:

    That was awesome Sukumar….really funny….

    As a person who has been using spec for the past 15 years….this could be a boon(my desire as always been a wiper to specs so that visibilty is same during rains and fogs too)….now u r making me greedy…

  19. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said October 11, 2008, 10:05 am:

    Thanks Karthik. To Ranjit’s point above, whenever i step out of the car since it is airconditioned, my glasses become foggy (i have been wearing glasses for 20 years now). During those times i sure wished for the wipers. Guess we could add that to the feature list of the iWatch – to each their own πŸ™‚

  20. Quote
    Surendar Chellappa said October 13, 2008, 9:17 am:

    Very interesting concept. My value add will be mood recognition – will help decide ‘greeting and conversation’ strategy. This can extend use of the concept for sales situation.

  21. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said October 13, 2008, 8:49 pm:

    Thanks Surendar. Mood recognition – sounds cool. Let us add that to the feature list as well.

  22. Quote
    saikrishna said October 16, 2008, 8:34 am:

    coolstuf did you buy one

  23. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said October 16, 2008, 8:53 am:

    Thanks Saikrishna. Nice to see you visiting my blog. This product is just my imagination. It does not exist yet for me to buy it.

  24. Quote

    Sukumar – Great imagination. I remember you discussing this with us at home.

    But, why go to all this trouble? Don’t they have this, er, device already? They call this “The Wife”.

  25. Quote

    Most models of “The Wife” even remember anniversaries & birthdays (though the version you have doesn’t, even if its life depended on it). And its not very expensive. Take “The Wife” out for dinner once a month – at all other times, its maintenance-free.

  26. Quote

    Thanks. Hahaha. Yeah “the wife” is great. But no amount of greatness of “the wife” can make one take “the wife” everywhere one goes, right?:)

  27. Quote

    This should make you happy person for an unspecified $s πŸ™‚ http://www.electronista.com/articles/08/12/29/lg.3g.wrist.phone/

  28. Quote
    Sukumar (subscribed) said January 2, 2009, 7:19 pm:

    Thanks for the pointer Vamsi. Looks like only the spectacles part of my iWatch is missing. I am sure someone will do it one day.

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