The Bright Future of Wearables

May 10, 2015

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The Apple Watch debuted a few weeks ago to...less than spectacular fanfare. Don’t get us wrong: it is certainly an ambitious, highly anticipated, intriguing piece of technology that will undoubtedly reshape communication and uh, you know, tell you what time it is. It just seems redundant - and wasn’t the whole point of putting a clock in your phone to make watches obsolete? Also, the battery only lasts one day and the darn thing might cost you $10k. Wearable tech has been a dream for many years, and thanks to the Apple Watch a very visible manifestation has caught the public’s attention. From here, the trend in wearables likely to get smaller in size, more intuitive, and more capable of complex, multifaceted executions. Here’s a look at a few key players that have caught our eye:

Gesture Control:

A team from MIT is working on a thumbnail trackpad that will permit users to go virtually hands free in an extremely naturalistic fashion, and even add custom skins to the nail to match a brand new manicure! Android is releasing wrist controls for its own Android Wear watch, upping their game in the Smart Watch category. Gesture control will also play a huge role in television command, hands-free driving controls, and more. Microsoft is even patenting a new method of gesture control using floating holograms.

Performance Wear:

One of the coolest wearable technologies is the line of performance athletic clothing from Athos, which tracks muscle output, heart rate, breathing, and stability to a smartphone app, all while compressing, wicking, and even providing UPF 50 sun protection. A key to the expansion of wearable tech will be flexibility or “soft machines”, critical for incorporation into clothing. OLED screens are already making a splash in this area, but the next leap forward could be soft, printable, durable circuits made from liquid metal. Researchers at Purdue University have developed a suspension of gallium-indium nanoparticles that they say can print circuits using an inkjet printer creating flexible, selectively activated electronics in a wide variety of fabrics.

Wearable Medicine:

Perhaps the most exciting advancement in wearable tech is something that has the power to not just change lives, but save them. From cancer-detecting bras to physiology-tracking apps, the medical wearable future is nigh! Desert Valley is using wearable tech to keep pregnant patients upright to reduce c-sections; Echo Labs is revolutionizing the way we practice medicine. Changes are coming, and they look awesome. Next up: socks that save!

From performance gear to medical tech, the future looks bright - and fashionable - for wearables!

 



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