From Wearables to Hearables to ‘Disappearables’: How Small Can We Go in Mobile Tech?

From Wearables to Hearables to ‘Disappearables’ How Small Can We GoJust as some devices are getting bigger because video (the happening thing) looks better bigger, there’s a parallel track of digital development that’s going for the smallest of the small.

Or, as Jeremy Wagstaff notes in a recent story posted by Yahoo, “Forget ‘wearables’, and even ‘hearables’. The next big thing in mobile devices: ‘disappearables’.”

As if the new Apple Watch wasn’t small enough, industry analysts believe wearables could soon be overrun by hearables — devices with tiny computer chips that fit inside a human ear. Not small enough? How about a disappearable that tucks the tech into your trousers or jacket?

“In five years, when we look back, everything we see (now) will absolutely be classified as toys, as the first very basic steps of getting this right,” says Nikolaj Hviid, the man behind smart earbuds called the Dash.

“Developed by Munich-based Bragi GmbH, the Dash is a wireless in-ear headphone that looks like a discreet hearing aid,” notes Yahoo. “Packed inside is a music player, 4 gigabytes of storage, a microphone to take phone calls – just nod your head to accept – and sensors that monitor your position, heart rate, and body temperature.”

Is this a computer, phone, Fitbit, and more — all downsized to hide on one’s person?

According to Nick Hunn, a consultant who lays claim to the term ‘hearables’, believes Dash could let loose the deluge. He says the trend is powered by a new generation of chipsets using Bluetooth wireless communication and using far less power than their predecessors.

And Andrew Sheehy of Generator Research adds that, for instance, the heat in a human eyeball could power a 5 milliwatt transmitter – more than enough, he says, to power a connection from a smart contact lens to a smartphone or other controlling device.


Well, it’s going to take baby steps. And a realistic assessment of once heralded and now disparaged tech like Google Glass.

But very tiny tech could create monstrous waves in the digital devices of the future.