neptune-duo-designboom01-818x474On-body technology just keeps getting stranger all the time. Smartphones are one thing, and smartwatches another, but the gizmos in this Engadget slideshow of offbeat wearables are just weird. Some of them are a little pointless—a pseudo-steampunk watch from ThinkGeek, for example, or an expensive ring that lights up and vibrates when you get a phone call. There are also the brainwave-reading nekomimi ears that have been around for a couple of years now (you see them at every furry convention), and a Bluetooth speaker you can strap to your wrist like a Dick Tracy communicator.

Some of them are frankly a little bizarre, like the LED jacket for your dog or the near-field communicator “LikeBelt” that lets you make Facebook likes with pelvic thrusts. (Seriously.) But on the other hand, there’s an e-ink patterned bracelet, the Tago Arc, that can change its display pattern with NFC from your smartphone. (I wonder if it could be used to read e-books?) There’s another bracelet-like device, the Neptune Hub, that seems to be a smartphone that wraps around your wrist and connects to peripherals including a phone-shaped dumb slate.

Seeing all the creativity of those devices, be they totally gonzo or almost reasonable, makes me wonder if there’s anything interesting and wearable ahead for e-books. It seems like the e-books and tablets we have now are the best possible form factor for such things already, but who knows what the future might hold? Any existing form factor is only the best one possible until we discover one that’s actually better. (As it happens, I saw a satire piece on Facebook recently bemoaning the rise of e-book contact lenses and the accompanying decline of old-fashioned e-readers, but I can’t seem to dig it up now. Oh well.)


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