Alphabet could just be giving us a Christmas surprise. Apparently, the company’s Verily division on multiple prototypes of health-tracking wearables, some of which are showing more promise than others. And one of these watches was even worn by Brian Otis the cheif technical officer of Verily during an interview with Technology Review.
Verily is a spin-off of the experimental “X” division of the search giant Google. Last year, though, the company modified itself to come under the umbrella of Alphabet in order to offer a wider range of products. Appaently, Verily is currently working on a handful of smart-wearable projects including a glucose-sensing contact lens, a cancer-detecting wrist band and a big study of what it means to be healthy.
Although we don’t quite know about the technical details of the prototype Otis was wearing, we can safely assume that it was a working prototype as the CTO didn’t hesitate to show it off. Verily is promising to combine “sensors, software, and science” to come up with new ways to measure disease and help control it. So, this watch could be one of its masterpieces.
There had been several rumours before this linking Google’s experimental wings to smartwatches and health-tracking wrist wearables, but this is the first time we saw something in plastic and glass.
Reportedly, the device looks like a normal wristwatch without any buttons. Otis has been quoted to call the device a “Cardiac and Activity Monitor” and (surprisingly) the second generation of the hardware.
The watch is also said to have a simple white dial that works on digital ink technology to reduce power consumption. This makes sense as it will be a headache to have to charge the device everyday. The low-powered display could give the watch a battery life of days, or even weeks. The simplicity of the display also portrays that this device is going to be used to collect, store and transmit data, rather than display it to users.
Apparently, the company is working on several designs of smartwatches and a final marketable version hasn’t been worked out yet. But the optimism Otis showed holds to show that we could expect a smart wearable from Alphabet sometime in the near future.
The watch is one of several hardware activities that have a common goal, which is how to better manage the human condition and interrogate the human organism at scale across health and illness.
There’s a lot of work yet to be undertaken, including surveys, trying out different lineups of sensors and devices and even a few problems and bugs the team is yet to fix. But if the work goes as planned, we should have a Google-built smart-wearable by the end of this year.