Some of the best innovations often come from the minds of normal people who simply have a great idea. The problem is many of those people have no way to broadcast their ideas to the general population. That’s why a new reality series could be one of the more intriguing ones to come along in quite some time. America’s Greatest Makers is a new reality show in the works that’s scheduled to debut on TBS in 2016. The show sports an impressive pedigree with Mark Burnett of Survivor fame backing the project. Noted tech company Intel is also sponsoring it. While America’s Greatest Makers is still a number of months away from debuting, the potential the series promises is something that could revolutionize one particular area of technology: wearable devices.
The basic idea behind America’s Greatest Makers is to take people from all over the country with original ideas for new wearable devices and have them compete against each other. The show will follow a select few as they develop and improve on their ideas, with the eventual winner receiving $1 million, along with the full backing of Intel to produce their product and take it to the rest of the world. The show is still accepting applications (the deadline is October 2), so it’s difficult to say what kind of ideas are being proposed at this point, but the number of possibilities are certainly fascinating, especially to those within the wearable technology community.
Wearables are often looked at as the next great technological revolution. It certainly has more consumer appeal than, say, hyper converged infrastructure or all-flash array storage. As part of the Internet of Things (IoT), wearable devices often represent a future connected world where everything we touch and use has some web-related cloud-based capability. Already we’ve seen some wearable devices make an impact, smartwatches in particular, but true advances and innovative concepts are still coming down the pipeline with the help of big data analytics tools. Many large companies are experimenting with new ideas, and it’s clear that Intel sees this new reality series as a way to jumpstart more discussions among the general populace that might be a bit skeptical about wearable tech.
It probably doesn’t hurt that Intel stands to gain more exposure thanks to the new show. If anything, America’s Greatest Makers is more of an extension of a previous Intel venture, the Make It Wearable competition. That contest whittled 2,000 applicants to ten, where the finalists competed with each other to bring their wearable ideas to the masses. The winners were the folks behind Nixie, a special camera you can wear on your wrist that flies out, takes a picture, and then returns to your hand. The makers of Nixie got $500,000 and help from Intel and a fundraising campaign. You should be able to purchase Nixie for yourself in 2016. It’s likely that America’s Greatest Makers will follow along similar lines, only featuring a bit more drama and an even wider audience.
One innovative aspect about the show itself is the fact that it will be a multi-platform experience. Fans will be able to watch it on television, and then find additional content on social media networks, mobile devices, and digital outlets. Not only is this a smart move to grab more eyeballs, but it feeds into one of the beneficial aspects of wearable devices: engagement from anywhere. What better way to follow a show about wearable devices than from a wearable device you might already own? Equally valuable is the potential the show has to go international. If America’s Greatest Makers becomes a hit, don’t be surprised to find similar shows in the U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Brazil, and more.
Promoting great ideas is necessary for the next wave of innovation to truly take hold. The fact that these ideas will be competing with each other not only adds to the drama but could help propel those ideas to even greater heights. America’s Greatest Makers may be indicative of a larger trend of entertainment dedicated specifically to a more tech-savvy audience that wants to know about the latest and greatest inventions before they hit the mainstream. While it remains to be seen if the show will be a hit, it could make for some fun watching next year.
~ Rick Delgado