2nd Annual Million-Dollar Ideas

Mobile Appliances

While it's the in thing to call these things "wearable computers," mobile appliances have been around for centuries, if you go with the logic imparted on the "MIT Wearable Computing Web Page." Eyeglasses, for instance, have been around since at least the 1200s, and, more recently, ever since 1979, the Walkman let us simultaneously listen to music and juggle, if we wanted.

If you're tech-savvy, this field may be wide open. Can you think of one company that's dominating the wearable computer market? Can you even define the wearable computer market? Probably not. But it's coming. For instance, Aerospace Corp. recently announced it has created electronic suspenders for soldiers that will allow the military to send and receive information from the battlefield.

But you could have scored a D+ in physics or computer class and still be able to make money off this trend. For instance, ufunction is a company that makes women's clothes that have pockets designed for items like cell phones and mobile CD players. As ufunction notes in one of its press releases, there are 93 million telephone subscribers in the United States. Those are their customers-and potentially yours.

If you could design cellular socks that automatically hang up on telemarketers, we smell a hit.

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This article was originally published in the January 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: 2nd Annual Million-Dollar Ideas.

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