Most of us are familiar with the trend of wearable technology, but at the moment are there really any products that we would actually wear on a regular basis? That seems to be the biggest obstacle that innovators all over the world are interested in to turn a niche into a product with mass appeal.
Recent weeks have seen an explosion of media coverage on the subject thanks to Google’s introduction of Project Glass, and intense speculation over the launch of Apple’s iWatch. The world’s most innovative companies are clearly onto a trend that has the consumer’s attention.
The objective for this wearable technology is broad: from simply “pretty” wearable technologies (such as the LED-infused dress Katy Perry wore in 2010 by CuteCircuit), to launches like Project Glass and iWatch that hope to integrate already existing digital platforms ever more closely into the life’s of users. My bet, however, is that the most successful wearable technologies will be the ones that have improvements to human health as their ultimate objective. Prevention, awareness, and improved mobility seem to be at the heart of a lot of the wearable tech that doesn’t get as much press as Apple and Google’s latest initiatives. Discover the latest trends in wearable technologies, and what’s to come, in the following blog.
As we mentioned in a recent blog on the global trends of 2013, consumers are looking for new technologies that are not only for enjoyiment, but also health conscious. And the examples seem to be innumerable. In a post by Ecouterre, a website dedicated to the future of sustainable fashion design, they announced the top 7 wearable tech trends of 2012, and the string that ties them all together is smart ways to manage your health.
What kind of technology is being made wearable, and for the benefits of our health? Well, one example is the cancer-detecting smart bra that could soon surpass mammograms in accuracy.
Or, are you one of those people who hates wearing a helmet because they are bulky and, not to be too vain, but just simply not cute? Well two Swedish design students, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, decided to take on the problem with an invisible bicycle helmet that only deploys on impact (like an airbag).
Another company, Eletricfoxy, could be making obsolete the personal trainer with their high-tech top “Move”, featuring built-in electronics that read body position, muscle movement, and provides real-time feedback. The sports outfit is linked to a mobile app that allows you to assess your workout for the purpose of physical therapy, as well as improve in sports such as yoga, pilates, golf or baseball.
It is estimated that by 2050 10% of the world will not have access to drinking water. The solution? A rain coat that gathers and purifies water, allowing the wearer to take a drink whenever they’re thirsty: Raincatch. Designed by Hyeona Yang and Joshua Noble, students at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, the raincoat shows the water collected and the internal workings of the coat, meshing both the importance of aesthetics and technology.
Beyond just applying wearable technology to health, what are the overall trends in this emerging industry? Unfortunately I can’t give you a definitive answer, but I think this article from GIGAOM hits the nail on the head. The biggest questions and trends that will be explored in 2013:
· How will luxury designers be able to jump in on high-tech trends (watches and glasses, for example)? One example that comes to mind is Vertu, the luxury phone protector developer that is creating iPhone covers that cost more than the actual mobiles.
· How will apps continue to make this wearable technology actionable? From medically-related apps to purely aesthetic ones, a serious part to these devices is connecting them to a larger platform that makes them social.
· How will the data being collected by wearable technologies change the very nature of products as we know them? By calculating information such as Nike+ Fuelband (that makes life a sport and tracks your activity all day), what changes will this information bring to products as brands better understand consumer activities? The possibilities seem endless.
As CNN Money points out, Microsoft ruled the desktop era, Android and iOS are the dominant players in the mobility era, but no one can guarantee who will make it out on top of the wearable technology era. That story is still yet to unfold.