Google's Project Glass has made wearable computing hip. Now a Canadian Kickstarter project wants to make it dorky. And the GoPad folks might actually be on to something.
The GoPad isn't a pad at all. It's a tablet stand plus a carrying strap plus some other hardware to encourage tablet owners to wear their hardware while they walk around. In the above video, taken from the GoPad's Kickstarter page, you can watch inventor Peter Kielland demo the unit.
GoPad Is Not A Gag. No, Really!
Clearly, Gordon Lightfoot Junior has no problem putting it out there, and a wearable tablet would free his hands for ironic beard grooming. But once the laughter faded and I dug in, I started to believe Kielland might be right. For the average street-crossing civilian, wearing a computer around your neck is pretty dumb, but there are plenty of people who use tablets at work, and something like the GoPad might actually do the trick. For doctors, mechanics, and anyone else who needs hands-free reference images (and please leave a comment if I'm wrong here), there don't seem to be a whole lot of options.
The GoPad holds the tablet in a serviceable position, and once you unhook the strap, the three-way stand is actually quite useful for everyone.
GoPad Changes The World!
When I add it all up, the GoPad's biggest problem is really the marketing. Canadians tend to be a modest bunch, but Kielland isn't scared of a big statement. On the company website, he declares the GoPad the "Future of Mobile Computing." The Kindle Fire? The iPhone 5? NFC? Mere toys! The reversible/wearable/adjustable tablet strap – that's what's going to change the world! Shades of Matthew Lesko?
If Kielland had focused on the stand, rather than the wearable aspect (and released it as "The OmniStand, with optional strap," or something equally Belkin-y), it might have seemed a little less silly.
But he didn't. No matter how you dress it up, wearing a laptop around your neck is just plain goofy (and this from someone who owns a pair of Vibram Five Fingers), but despite some remarkably hokey marketing, GoPad might actually have a niche. Just hope you don't meet your future spouse while wearing it.
Keytar image by George Mattson.