The research and development of wearable tech
Technology is impacting our lives in a range of ways. There are some innovations out there that have been designed to make our day-to-day tasks easier, while others help us monitor our lifestyle. And, with the latest developments, we don’t need to carry around our favourite gadgets by hand — many of them are now wearable. In 2016, 61 million fitness, activity and sports trackers were sold along with 14 million wearable cameras and 15 million virtual and augmented reality headsets.
Making tech stylish
As wearable tech is likely to be seen by others, it must look attractive as well as being useful. It must be something that people would happily wear with their regular items. This has been difficult, especially when it comes to items such as Bluetooth headsets and smartwatches, as they can often look out of place.
Researchers have focused on the aesthetic features of the smartwatch for example. The latest releases from brands such as Samsung are much more stylish and look more like a watch that’d be bought for fashion purposes. With coloured leather straps and a circular face, brands are moving away from square screens and plastic straps as they realise that smart-watches that look very digitalised don’t go down as well with the target market.
Also consider the partnership between Levi’s, Jacquard and Google. They created wearable technology that could be worn seamlessly with other clothes. The Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket comes with its own app and you can control music with a few swipes of the sleeve. Innovations like this could be the start of fully-integrated wearable tech.
Keeping an eye on our health
Owning wearable technology is a great way to keep on top of our health too.
Some big brands have noticed this too. In conjunction with global beauty brand L’Oréal, researchers developed a wearable device that could monitor UV exposure. Clip it onto a denim jacket or individuals can wear it on their thumb to get an accurate reading of the current UV levels and take appropriate action to keep their skin protected.
There are also innovations called health tags on the market. These can fit into all clothes, such as men’s shirts or overcoats for example. Link them up with your phone to track your activity, sleep, heart rate, breathing patterns and stress levels.
What lies ahead? Future developments could be made so that wearable tech can help out health services too. There has been discussion around the possibility that well-known fitness tracker, Fitbit, could help doctors predict how a patient may react to chemotherapy.
When looking at future predictions, statistics reveal that 411 million smart wearable devices will be sold in 2020, in a market worth $34 billion. But, what type of wearables will they be? CCS Insight predicts the following number of sales by device in 2020:
- Wristbands — 164 million
- Watches — 110 million
- Eyewear — 97 million
- Wearable cameras — 25 million
- Hearables — 9 million
- Tokens, clip-on, and jewellery — 4 million
- Other — 2 million
As we can see wristbands and watches will still be dominating the market. And, with 97 million eyewear pieces to be sold in 2020, it will be interesting to see how these will be developed and designed to be truly wearable for all.