Fantasy Products Come to Life
For decades, the consumer electronics industry has been turning imaginary products into reality. In the 1940’s, cartoonist Chester Gould created Dick Tracy’s famous wristwatch radio. Although pure fantasy, it seized the imagination of readers. Many toy companies tried to capitalize on the illusion and rushed to market wearable walkie-talkies.
But it was Samsung that launched the first wristwatch phone, the SPH-WP10, in 1999. Fantasy no more! Meanwhile, Motorola answered the call of the Trekies and brought Star Trek Communicators to life in 1996 with the introduction of the StarTAC line of phones. Imaginary products in comic strips, TV and movies have caused us all to dream about how cool it would be to possess gadgets like Batman’s utility belt, James Bond’s laser beam pen and Inspector Gadget’s gizmos.
Fast forward to 2013. It seems that many of these once-fictional devices are finding their way onto retailers’ shelves. Did Star Trek: the Next Generation’s Geordi LaForge’s visor or Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) glasses spawn Google Glass? Whether it was comics, sci-fi or the inventor’s imagination, one thing’s for certain: wearable technology and wearable apps (the combination of phone apps and devices/products/sensors) are hitting the market at warp speed and are here to stay.