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The release of the Apple Watch showed that a computer can now fit in a watch. Have we now reached the limit of miniaturization? No ! The era of ‘wearable’ technology is just beginning. In the future, computers will literally be integrated into our daily lives. Jean-Marie Stas, Marketing Manager at Proximus, raises a corner of the veil on the evolutions that await us.
“Do you remember the ‘mainframe’, the first computer? An entire room filled with appliances. What a long way to get to smartphones and smartwatches: a smaller, more powerful and more comprehensive technology. And evolution is not near stopping. Miniaturization of electronic chips now allows to integrate sensors, cameras and processors in objects the size of a coin (ring, earring, button …). In the future, sensors will even be part of our clothing. Google launched the Jacquard project to examine the possibility of weaving intelligent wires. An initiative Levi’s partnered with. Ralph Lauren launched a smart sports t-shirt: silver fibers braided in the fabric measure heart rate and respiratory rhythms, and send information to the sportsman’s iPhone.
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A new industrial revolution
A new material, graphene, should pave the way for further miniaturization. Composed of a monoatomic carbon layer, this element can replace the silicon currently used to produce computer chips. An evolution that will allow to integrate a computing capacity on a layer of the thickness of an atom, that is 100 times finer than is possible at the moment. It is also 200 times stronger than steel, while remaining flexible, and conducts electrons about 100 times faster than silicon. If you think it’s science fiction, think again! Applications will soon be numerous: intelligent garments – with computing and storage capabilities, batteries, cameras, microphones, sensors and other wireless communication solutions – open the door to innovative use of technology. Does your body temperature be too low or too high? The density of the fabric will adapt. Your movements can also produce energy.
Intelligent clothing provides a new perspective on the provision of services. For example, at the health level, physicians will be able to follow patients without using large devices or even without examining them. The instructions for use will be incorporated into the technicians’ clothes, which will always be in communication with the headquarters, which will in particular transmit to them their schedules. Alternatively, workers in a company will be able to record dialogues with customers to avoid any subsequent disputes. You will have understood: the possibilities are endless. At the same time, these technologies raise many issues. How far can a company equip its employees with these devices? Can it collect biometric data on its own? What about data storage, privacy and security? So many questions that also show that we are at the dawn of a new era