At some point in the next two weeks, you’re going to get bored. And when you’ve taken your new fitness tracker, smartwatch or VR headset for a spin, don’t just watch Master of None in its entirety for the third time, give our wearable tech, VR and smart home reading list a chance instead.
It’s not strictly a reading list as lots of the entries can be watched or listened to. But the get the idea: bookmark this page for when you need inspiration on what to learn about over the holidays.
From long reads on the history of VR to listicles on smart home visions through the ages, we’ve got you covered.
Read William Gibson’s Neuromancer
This 1984 cyberpunk novel coined the term cyberspace and also introduced the world to a wearable display embedded in character Molly Millions’ mirrored eye lenses which can transmit text messages from hackers.
In terms of implantables, the Neuromancer world is pretty dystopian but Gibson’s book is namechecked by nearly everyone we’ve chatted to in the wearable tech industry. Gibson tried Google Glass in 2013 and “was faintly annoyed at just how interesting” he found it.
Neuromancer (1984) $5.99 | Amazon
Watch Star Trek (obvs)
Google built a Star Trek communicator then ditched it, the likes of Microsoft, The Void and VR headset makers are inching closer and closer to the Holodeck, the Star Trek universe’s fictional VR facility. Try this if you want a super accessible entry into a sci-fi world that is directly responsible for some of the cool shit we get to play with now. Just maybe skip the episodes with the Holodeck malfunctions.
Star Trek: The Original Series $72 Amazon
Read vintage Wired predictions
Some of the actual tech in Bill Wasik’s feature is a little out of date now but the sentiment – Why Wearable Tech Will Be As Big As The Smartphone – still feels relevant despite the fact that it was published in December 2013, before this website even existed. Bluedouches, Trucker Hats and early wearable tech Kickstarter campaigns.
Listen to our marathon playlist
Senior editor James Stables is one of our in-house marathon runners and he put together his ultimate Spotify marathon/running playlist. It’s 4 hour 28 minutes long and kicks off with The Final Countdown. Need we say more.
Get your head straight with Bionic Buddha
This is a great resource for anyone interested in digital health, mindfulness and productivity and it’s run by Wareable contributor Becca Caddy. Bionic Buddha takes on the big questions from how to be happy to choosing a stress reduction app.
See 2015’s devices in action on Btekt’s YouTube channel
You might have seen Btekt’s hands on videos pop up on the site but it’s worth heading over to Btekt’s Wearable Tech playlist for more in-depth comparisons and reviews of this year’s smartwatches. Shout out to Basil Kronfli who is an absolute voiceover demon.
Read Ubik by Philip K. Dick
This 1969 sci-fi classic gives us an idea where wearable tech – and VR – might be headed in terms of paying attention to, and manipulating all our senses not just sight and sound. Its premise, involving a spray which can alter reality, was also the inspiration behind Jenny Tillotson’s personalised scent bubble wearable eScent.
Catch up on wearable tech loving movies
We are really, truly helpful so not only have we compiled a list of the most iconic movie wearables ever, we’ve also taken the trouble to find 21 Star Wars wearables as well as turn our attentions to 007’s finest connected kit. Plenty of holiday movie recommendations in these fine listicles.
Read Ready Player One
Can’t wait till you can pre-order an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive? Short of buying a Gear VR to pass the time, try reading Ernest Cline’s geeky 2011 pop culture meets sci-fi novel Ready Player One. The action takes place in a virtual world/MMORPG called OASIS (sound familiar?) and unsurprisingly, the Spielberg movie adaptation is set for 2017.
Ready Player One $7.43 Kindle Edition | Amazon
Get nostalgic over cult classics
Or scratch your head that you haven’t watched some of our pick of movies about VR yet. OK, OK, we know you’ve seen The Matrix but what about 2009’s VR focused slasher Ghost Machine?
Read (part of) an oral history of VR
If you get to the end of The Verge’s epic interview based history of VR, do let us know. One to dip in and out of if you fancy revisiting the Power Glove, say, or finding out why virtual reality never got off the ground the first time. It’s talking head city but for once, these are the heads we owe for the current renaissance in VR. We salute you.
Also worth checking out (if you want a bit of a break) is our brief history of wearable gaming.
Watch/listen to Chris Milk sell VR
The one time music video maker turned VR pioneer and co-founder of VRSE talks about taking people places, not just showing them, empathy and changing minds. Don’t forget to check out the rest of our round up of the best TED Talks on virtual reality plus our edit of TED Talks on wearable tech and the connected self as a whole (with embedded videos).
Read this comic strip on smart fridges
That’s right, why not? How We Get To Next’s short but sweet comic looks at the rise of the smart fridge from its humble beginnings in 1626 to the first Internet-enabled refrigerator in 1998.
Watch Her for home improvement ideas
Spike Jonze nails the flat of the near future in his wonderful 2013 love story Her with a huge video game space, an AI assistant, retro furniture and no cables to be seen.
Plus, watch the rest of our picks of the smart homes and apartments we’re desperate to live in – from The Jetsons’ pad to the kitchen in Back to the Future II.
Revisit the history of home automation with retro clips
Our tour of smart home visions of the past is quite the ride. From 1932’s Alpha the Robot to Microsoft’s 1999 Smart Home, take a look at these models of smart home excellence and ponder why we still haven’t figured the whole damn thing out yet.
Dance in front of our smart party YouTube playlist
We recently threw a properly smart party with music, lights and visuals all hooked up to provide the perfect atmosphere. If you have a big 4K TV taking up all the room in your lounge and want to put it to good use, stick our movie themed YouTube playlist on to give your guests some moves to copy.
Let us know what books, movies, articles and playlists we’ve missed in the comments below or via the Wareable Forum.