There has been much fervor in recent months about the idea that Valve is working on some kind of hardware behind closed doors. SteamBox! Steam Engine! The people shout. While we still do not know all the details, Valve employee Jeri Ellsworth told Engagdet a few interesting tidbits about the future of Valve hardware.
Ellsworth says that the goal of Valve's hardware division is "to make Steam games more fun to play in your living room". This seems to jive with Steam's Big Picture Mode, which puts Steam on the big screen TV and uses controller input (which went into beta recently). Ellsworth team is charged with creating a solution to break down the control barriers that keep many people away from Steam and PC gaming in general.
The team is looking to have consumer beta programs for its products sometime next year. Internal betas are already underway. Ellsworth suggests that the consumer beta programs may be tied to Steam somehow, but no specifics have been decided.
As for wearable computing, Ellsworth mentions it as a longer term goal, so it is possible that next year's beta programs may not have much or anything to do with wearable computing.