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  • Apple Hires "Wearable Computing" Guru


    In an interesting hire, Apple has quietly brought a wearable computing expert on board as a Senior Prototype Engineer and put him to work on a secret program. Computerworld's Seth Weintraub has learned that Richard DeVaul, the developer of StepTrakLite and graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be working for top Apple designer Jonathan Ive. According to the report, only nine people - including Ive and Steve Jobs - know about the project. Weintraub only found out about it by looking at DeVaul's LinkedIn profile.

    DeVaul worked at the Borglab at MIT developing "new techniques of human-computer interaction for body-worn applications." The MIThril project worked with body-worn computation, sensing, and networking hardware integrated into a vest as a way of prototyping what "wearable computing" might be used for, and the best way to do development and user interface design for such a platform. Rich DeVaul's Memory Glasses project was about a "wearable, proactive, context-aware memory aid" that used "squirt" active infrared tags to recognize people, places and things and project information on a heads-up display. DeVaul started up AWare Technologies after he got his Ph.D. from MIT, and delivered monitoring programs for the US Army, DARPA, and Olympic organizations. AWare developed an app, StepTrakLite, that uses the accelerometer on an iPhone or iPod touch to accurately count the number of steps a user takes and determine the exercise intensity.

    At Apple, Devaul works directly under Jonathan Ive, who was the principal designer of the iMac, aluminum and titanium PowerBook G4, MacBook, unibody MacBook Pro, iPod, iPhone, and iPad. The project is so secret, Computerworld says, that "only seven people besides Ive and CEO Steve Jobs know what he is doing." Apple has been getting patents for wearable technology that indicate that the company at least has a research program for things like heads-up displays and non-handheld portable devices.

    Apple has consistently shown that they can create markets by innovating whole new classes of products. The iPhone changed the way people think about mobile computing, and if Apple doesn't epically FAIL with the iPad, it will be yet another paradigm shifting product. So even if we're years away from something like "iGlasses" or whatever DeVaul is working on, Apple's clearly already thinking about that future.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Hires "Wearable Computing" Guru started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. deftonix's Avatar
      deftonix -
      Could be very interesting, indeed. Almost like a spy movie.

      First, BTW.
    1. alz0rz's Avatar
      alz0rz -
      Anyone heard of Sixth Sense.....?

      http://www.pranavmistry.com/projects/sixthsense/

      From MIT's Media Lab also.. I wonder if there is gonna be a conflict there..
    1. lolcats1's Avatar
      lolcats1 -
      geeks everywhere are going to need a change of pants after seeing this.

      utility belts step aside
    1. JStraitiff's Avatar
      JStraitiff -
      looks like a bomb vest or something. lol. "if that C4 in your vest or are you just happy to see me?"
    1. pyromcr's Avatar
      pyromcr -
      wonder how that would go over with the FAA or the TSA...
    1. Masterz1337's Avatar
      Masterz1337 -
      iBorg?
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      The future is upon us with Apple leading the way.
    1. harrison0550's Avatar
      harrison0550 -
      Jobs reminds me of that guy in IRobot who knows that the robots are bad but just doesnt care because they make him money. Yup if we keep buying apple then one day Steve Jobs will rule the world with red eyed robots. Bahahahaha
    1. hxclos's Avatar
      hxclos -
      I wouldn't doubt they are working on iGlasses. It would be pretty amazing if you could control a screen with nothing but your eyes, kinda like Ironman.
    1. Gustavo Saliola's Avatar
      Gustavo Saliola -
      Future is coming. Jobs will be the father of Cyberdyne Systems. World domination.
    1. Success.Is.Sweet's Avatar
      Success.Is.Sweet -
      The military is using similar systems, it's just kept pretty hush hush. I shortly worked a job last summer on a production line building parts for a setup like this that would hook into a heads up display for a select few Army troops. This is really an awesome idea, it's interesting to see it coming from Apple.
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      love it. cant wait for it to become a reality