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.
How fashionable can tech be?
When it comes to innovating for wearable tech, the process followed is different to the normal development process. It has to look attractive and 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.
Developments in the smartwatch industry for example now mean that 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.
Other advancements include when Levi’s teamed up with Jacquard and Google to create 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.
How can wearable tech help our health?
Aside from making our lives more efficient, technology can also help us monitor and improve our health.
One example of this is the announcement that in conjunction with global beauty brand L’Oréal, researchers had developed a wearable device that could monitor UV exposure. Clip it onto your denim jacket or wear it on your thumb to get an accurate reading of the current UV levels and take appropriate action to keep your skin protected.
Also available to buy are ‘health tags’ which can stick to the inside of clothing such as men’s blazers or overcoats, and are easy to keep hidden. Link them up with your phone to track your activity, sleep, heart rate, breathing patterns and stress levels.
It’s also possible that 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.
Thinking of the future
Predictions expect 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
It’s apparent that 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.