Why you might wear your next computer on your ear


A new kind of has been created that immediately evokes images of the ear-mounted PC worn by Joaquin Phoenix in .

Created by Hiroshima City University staffer Kazuhiro Taniguchi, the prototype devices interface uses infrared waves to detect when the wearer opens and closes his mouth. Those movements send corresponding command signals back to the device. Conceivably, apps could be created for the device that would let you do things like fetch traffic information or get directions by turning your head or biting down.

Taniguchi, who calls the Bluetooth device an Ear Switch, also embedded the formfitting earpiece with a compass, barometer, a speaker and microphone, gyro-sensors, a battery and GPS functions.

In a video (in Japanese) posted by Japans Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Taniguchi is seen demonstrating the device at a Hiroshima, Japan, business fair in January.


Yet another video (see below), linked from Taniguchis staff page, shows just how seamlessly the Ear Switch could be used to guide a person through their daily life, tucked almost invisibly behind their ear.

Aside from allowing the wearer to operate the device completely hands free, Taniguchi also believes the Ear Switchs sensors could serve as a tool to monitor the wearers health. However, Taniguchi hasnt released many of the technical details behind the device, so at this point its best to consider this a brilliant concept device that may become a commercial reality.

Nevertheless, the concept itself is incredibly promising. And while some of the most interesting parts of the web and mobile content are visual an area in which the Ear Switch falls short unwieldy devices like Google Glass have struggled to gain acceptance.

Moving the wearable computing paradigm from the eyes to the ears an unobtrusive position that would make it difficult for most to know whether or not youre even computing immediately makes the Ear Switch a far more viable mainstream solution than something like Glass.

According to a report in the Nikkei, the developer hopes to team up with a major firm to release a commercial version of the device sometime in 2015.