After Smartphones and Smart watches, it’s time for Wearable Cloud Jackets!

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Fasten your seat belts as we are soon to land in “Future”- a future with wearable CLOUD JACKETs!

University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) assistant professor Ragib Hasan and postdoctoral graduate Rasib Khan conceived the concept of wearable clouds at the 40th Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society International Conference on Computers, Software & Applications (IEEE COMPSAC) held in June 2016. The duo created a prototype of a wearable cloud jacket using 10 credit-card-sized Raspberry Pi computers, a remote touch screen display, three power banks, and one winter jacket. The lightweight, compact cloud jacket is “smart” enough to handle all mobile computing tasks together. With this technology, users will not have to depend on individual capabilities ofdifferent connected devices.

How does the wearable cloud work?

The prototype cloud jacket has 10 gigabytes of RAM, whereas average smartphones have not more than 3. Moreover, each of the Raspberry Pi’s within the jacket is loaded with 32 gigabytes of memory.

The researchers explained that with wearable clouds, mobile/wearable devices would be converted into mere controllers or “dumb terminal devices” as they will no longer require powerful processors. Connected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to the cloud, these terminal devices will allow users to send service requests through a user intuitive display. These requests will be accepted by the wearable cloud and computational task will be carried out, the results of which will be displayed on the terminal device. The wearable cloud can serve as a picocell tower too. Sharing of its capabilities with other devices is possible via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. If 7-10 people are outfitted with cloud jackets, they together form a stronger engine called “hyper-cloud”. And all this happens in real time.

“Wearable cloud jackets may cut prices of smart devices as they will no longer need powerful processors that make them expensive”

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How will it benefit us in the future?

  • It’s pretty expensive to invest separatelyon different smart devices including smartwatches, smartphones, and activity trackers, as each of them have limited features and cannot work in tandem. But a personal cloud, serving as a computational platform, will cut these expenses by clubbing features of all connected devices together.
  • The wearable cloud incorporates hi-speed processors ensuring smooth functioning of connected devices. Presently, wearable devices use processors that are almost 10 times slower than processors installed in laptops/PCs.
  • With a personal cloud, personal data would remain secured. Many mobile applications require users to upload their personal information to unknown local/public cloud data centres.
  • Users and developers will be able to create and customise anything over the wearable cloud as it is no less than an application platform.

What is the scope of this technology?

Wearable clouds can be deployed into any object of daily use such as a purse, bag or briefcase. Researchers plan to use this technology for disaster management and emergency situations. They also want to deploy it into hospital gowns. In cases wherein a patient has to be shifted from one place to another, all medical devices attached to his body have to be moved along with him. Hospital gowns embedded with mobile clouds will eliminate this inconvenience as all data (BP, ECG) will be stored in the gown.